Hans Henrik is a Danish marathon swimmer I’ve been “stalking” online since last summer where he swam around the island of Amager, 45 km give and take, south of Copenhagen.
I met Hans Henrik for coffee in Copenhagen last Friday. Not only he’s a talented swimmer, but he’s also all casual and very humble about his breathtaking performance. He stroke me as the innovative, forward-thinking type who instantly showed a genuine interest in SwimDream76. Sponsorship, charity, training community… He gave me a great input of new ideas as how to approach this crazy project of mine.
From the very beginning I’ve been keen to tie my marathon swims to a good cause or a charity. I’m considering a few projects close to my heart, but I haven’t chosen any one specific yet. I like the idea of making other people benefit from my swims. And Hans Henrik was a great inspiration in that regard. He gave it a new angle and helped me see how to link sponsorship and charity together. The former gets exposure, the latter gets a little help and I get an experience for life. It’s a win-win situation for all of us. So, what’s not to like about it?
Right now Hans Henrik is busy starting up the Danish Open Water Swimming Association, DOWSA. It’s a very exciting project! The goal is to promote open water swimming on a national scale while establishing a strong community amongst open water swimmers and facilitating events, solo swims, etc. As a current member of the World Association WOWSA I’ll be following their work very closely from now on and will definitely consider becoming a member of the Danish Association as well. Believe me – I’ve only just begun, but it’s a hard time organizing solo swims on your own. So DOWSA will a natural place for me to network and join events with fellow swimmers.
The first step will on 4th May where DOWSA will hold the first “swim out” event of the season. It will be a great opportunity for me to meet other swimmers, especially marathoners. A few guys around Hans Henrik have crossed the English Channel recently, while a third one is getting ready for her solo swim to France in three months. I’m very grateful Hans Henrik has found the time to meet me. He’s already been a great inspiration and I’ll do my very best to give something back to him and the open water community over the next few years. Networking has definitely come to stay!
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