Ex-Olympic swimmer Maarten van der Weijden’s second Elfstedenzwemtocht will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at the Swettehaven in Leeuwarden, and dining establishments in the city of Sloten will be closed while Van Der Weijden swims through the city.
Translation by Thomas Ansell and Traci White
Van Der Weijden told the Leeuwarder Courant that the later starting time – last year, he began in the wee hours of the morning – will hopefully make it easier for him to be better rested during the three-day-long swim, which will bring him through the historic eleven cities of the Elfstedentocht ice skating race.
On Saturday, a large number of swimmers who want to tackle a section of the course with Van Der Weijden will take the plunge in Stavoren around 2 p.m. The marathon swim will finish at de Grutte Wielen lake just north of Leeuwarden around 8 p.m. on Monday.
As reported by Omrop Fryslan, Sloten’s hospitality businesses have been sent a letter by the local municipality, asking them to close for the evening that Van der Weijden will swim through the city. This is the second time that Van der Weijden has attempted to swim the Eleven Cities, after last year’s attempt had to be abandoned due to health concerns.
Last year, the city of Sloten was exceptionally busy during the first edition of the Elfstedenzwemtocht. This year’s swim, which is once again raising money for cancer research, will pass through Sloten again, but due to Van Der Weijden’s later starting time, the former Olympian is not expected to arrive in the city until late at night. Local hospitality businesses in the city saw the special event as an opportunity to remain open late, but the municipality has not given permission for businesses to have extra long hours.
Van Der Weijden raised more than 5 million euros last year during the swim, which he was medically advised to abandon near the town of Burdaard. A statue commemorating the 2018 swim was unveiled in the city in June.
The location in Leeuwarden where Van Der Weijden will commence his second attempt to swim all eleven Frisian cities.