arena is pleased to announce the renewal of its partnership with Dutch open water swimmer, Sharon Van Rouwendaal. The 28-year-old 2016 Olympic open water champion and 2020 runner-up is now contracted with the Italian waterwear brand through 2024, including the Summer Olympics in Paris.
“I’m super happy and excited to continue my partnership with arena,” said Sharon. “I feel honored to have the best swimming gear, but even more honored to be a part of this family for more than 7 years. I’m looking forward to creating more beautiful memories together in the years to come.”
The undoubted crowning achievement of Sharon’s career was her 10km Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympics, where she dominated the race, winning by over 17 seconds.
Her performance was doubly impressive as open water racing was relatively new to her; she won her first international medals in the discipline at the 2014 European Championships in Berlin, where she won two golds (10km and 5km team) and a silver (5km). Her switch to open water proved to be an inspired one: she was named European Open Water Swimmer of the Year in her first full season, and proceeded to go from strength to strength: 2 silver medals at Kazan’s World Championships in 2015 (10km, 5km team), bronze at the 2016 European Open Water Championships (5km), the 2016 Olympic triumph, silver at the Budapest’s 2017 World Championships (25km), and then the 5km-10km double gold at both the 2018 and 2020 European Championships in Glasgow and Budapest respectively.
Five years after her victory in Rio, at the postponed Tokyo Olympics held in 2021, she narrowly missed defending her title by less than a second, as the extremely warm conditions turned the race into a test of endurance and tactics. It was the first time a woman had medalled in open water at two consecutive Olympics.
But Sharon is far from a one-trick pony, and has had considerable success in the pool as well. She won her first major international medals in 2010 at the European Short Course Championships in Eindhoven, where she swept the 100 and 200 backstroke events. Since then she has won two World Championship medals (400 freestyle silver in 2015, 200 backstroke bronze in 2011); a gold (4×200 freestyle), silver (400 freestyle) and bronze (800 freestyle) at the 2014 World Short Course Championships in Doha, including the second-fastest split in the 4×200 relay field as the Dutch broke the world record; and 400 free silver medals at the 2014 European Championships and 2015 World Championships.
She also currently holds 6 individual Dutch long course records (400, 800, 1500 & 5000 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 butterfly) and 5 individual Dutch short course records (400, 800 & 1500 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 400 IM).
It’s an impressive CV of remarkable versatility at the highest level which, as Sharon has acknowledged in the past, takes work: “I always realized that having talent is one thing, but winning is not only about swimming. It is a complete lifestyle, full focus and dedication.”
Sharon Van Rouwendaal Bio & Best Results
Born: 9 September, 1993 in Baarn, Netherlands
Coach: Bernd Berkhahn
Club: SC Magdeburg, Germany
2021 XXXII Olympiad, Tokyo
Silver: 10km open water
2020 LEN European LC Swimming Championships, Budapest
Gold: 5km & 10km open water
2018 LEN European LC Swimming Championships, Glasgow
Gold: 5km, 10km & 5km team open water
2017 17th FINA World Championships, Budapest
Silver: 25km open water
2016 XXXI Olympiad, Rio de Janeiro
Gold: 10km open water
European Open Water Championships, Hoorn
Bronze: 5km open water
2015 16th FINA World Championships, Kazan
Silver: 400m freestyle, 10km & 5km team open water
2014 LEN European LC Swimming Championships, Berlin
– Gold: 10km & 5km team open water
– Silver: 400m freestyle, 5km open water
12th FINA Swimming Championships (25m), Doha
– Gold: 4x200m freestyle
– Silver: 400m freestyle
– Bronze: 800m freestyle
2011 14th FINA World Championships, Shanghai
Bronze: 200m backstroke
World Short Course Record: 4×200 freestyle 7:32.85