Expect big names at the Abu Dhabi Swimming Festival this weekend. Hosted on Saturday October 29 at Emirates Palace, Rio Olympians including UAE flag-bearer Nada Al Bedwawi and Dutch gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal will be in attendance.


The Dutch swimmer, who nabbed gold in the 10km open water marathon in Rio earlier this year, will be participating in the Abu Dhabi Mile race at the festival this weekend. She recommends participants keep track of their position in the water and their breathing during the race. “With open water swimming it is hard to see where you are in the water, and when to breathe and where to look. I think that’s the most difficult part – you have to see where you’re going.”

And what of her golden moment in Brazil? The swimmer explained, “the last 100m I sprinted to the end and in the last six strokes I came to realise I would win the race. I touched the plate and I can’t describe the feeling… it was the best feeling I’ve ever had.”

While van Rouwendaal says she swims 90k a week, and averages around 7 hours of sport a day, the festival is open to all levels of swimmers. There will be swims ranging from 100m to 1,600m on the day, with different categories on offer for both children (aged adults and eight and above) including the Abu Dhabi Mile, Abu Dhabi Splash Dash, Junior Splash Dash, Relay and Family Fun challenge.

For more information visit: swimabudhabi.com