Marrit Steenbergen is Swimming World’s Breakout Female Swimmer of the Year


by JOHN LOHN – EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

28 December 2023, 12:29pm

Marrit Steenbergen is Swimming World’s Breakout Female Swimmer of the Year

As a European champion and World Championships medalist as a 15-year-old, Marrit Steenbergen has long been a known presence on the international stage. But the Dutch standout took a step forward during the 2023 campaign, flourishing in multiple events at the World Championships. In Fukuoka, Steenbergen was one of the busiest athletes, racing on 21 occasions between her individual and relay duties.

As 2023 winds down, Steenbergen is undoubtedly looking ahead to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, where she’ll attack several medal opportunities. She’ll head into the drive to Paris as Swimming World’s Female Breakout Swimmer of the Year.

Now a 23-year-old with considerable international experience, Steenbergen walked away from the World Champs with one medal, a bronze earned in the 100-meter freestyle. But there was much more to her visit to Fukuoka, as Steenbergen qualified for finals in four individual events and logged an incredible 21 swims over the eight-day meet.

In the 100 freestyle, Steenbergen earned a place on the podium with a bronze-medal effort of 52.71. That performance was complemented by a fifth-place finish in the 200 freestyle and an eighth-place finish in the 50 freestyle. Showing her versatility, Steenbergen was also seventh in the 200 individual medley.

On top of the 13 swims she contested individually, Steenbergen participated in eight relay races. While other athletes had the luxury of waiting until finals to serve duty for their countries, the Netherlands needed Steenbergen on its preliminary squads to guarantee advancement to finals. Steenbergen more than delivered.

For the year, Steenbergen notched the following world rankings:

50 Freestyle – 24.42 (17th)
100 Freestyle – 52.71 (Seventh)
200 Freestyle – 1:55.51 (11th)
200 Individual Medley – 2:09.16 (10th)

As admirable as it was for Steenbergen to manage a daunting schedule at the World Championships, decisions are likely to be made for the Olympic year. To be in peak condition in Paris, it would make sense for the Dutchwoman to pare down her schedule and embrace a program that will provide the greatest chance at medaling.

If nothing else, Steenbergen enters 2024 with momentum, her finest year to date serving as fuel.

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