In the run up to the Olympic Games, each week we'll be presenting the athletes who will have the privilege of competing for Belgium in Paris between 26 July and 11 August 2024. We will present them discipline by discipline... Today, we're putting the spotlight on those who will launch themselves into the water!

The practice of swimming dates back to prehistoric times, but it was not until the 19th century that it became competitive. The British National Swimming Society was created at the turn of the century and organised the first competitions. At the time, these took place in breaststroke or a similar stroke; a wide variety of disciplines have since been added and are now practised at the Olympic Games.

The swimming events take place in a 50 meter-long pool. There are four types of stroke in swimming, which are raced either as individual events or in relays: breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke and freestyle, always performed using the front crawl technique.  A fifth type of race, the medley, combines all four types of stroke and sees swimmers perform each one in succession. Distances also vary, and the same qualities are not required for a 50 m race as for a 1,500 m.            

  • Valentine Dumont (200 m and 400 m freestyle), born on 2 July 2000, is a freestyle and butterfly specialist. In December 2023, she won her first international medal, finishing third in the 400-metre freestyle at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in 4 min 0 s 84.
  • Florine Gaspard (50 m freestyle), born on 28 December 2001, left her hometown of Bastogne in 2022 to settle in Marseille, France. She also won gold in the 100-metre breaststroke at the 2023 French Swimming Championships in Rennes, setting a personal best of 1:07.21. On 15 December 2023, she twice broke the national record for the 50-metre freestyle and qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris with a time of 24.65 seconds.
  • Lucas Henveaux (400 m freestyle), born on 25 September 2000, is also a freestyle specialist. In December 2023, he won his first international medal, finishing third in the 400-metre freestyle at the European Short Course Swimming Championships, beating the Belgian record with 3 min 37 s 914. In February 2024, at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, he qualified for the 400 m freestyle final, where he finished fifth and improved his Belgian record to 3 min 44 s 61.
  • Roos Vanotterdijk (100 m backstroke and 100 m butterfly) was born on 7 January 2005, and is the current Belgian record holder in the 50 m long course freestyle, the 100 m freestyle, the 50 m backstroke, the 100 m backstroke and the 100 m butterfly, as well as the 50 m short course backstroke and the 100 m individual medley. She is a six-time medallist in individual events at the European Junior Swimming Championships and a medallist at the European Youth Olympic Festival.

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