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BRUINSMA Liesette
Sport Para swimming
NPC Netherlands   
GenderWomen
Age21
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S11, SB11, SM11
Further Personal Information
Residence
Sneek, NED
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
Dutch, English
Higher education
Psychology - Open University: Netherlands
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up outdoor swimming at age 10 in Wommels, Netherlands.
Why this sport?
"I started in the outdoor swimming pool in Wommels, where I lived. I also wanted to swim in the winter, so I went with a neighbour to a swimming club in Bolsward. At age 11 I swam my first competitions. I didn't have a [Para swimming] classification at the time, so I just swam with the regular swimmers. Two years later I received a classification and then the swimming association contacted me. That's how I ended up in the Paralympic selection."
Club / Team
HZ & PC Heerenveen: Netherlands
Name of coach
Sander Nijhuis [national], NED; Bram Dekker [national], NED
Training Regime
She swims for around 20 hours and does three strength training sessions per week.
Senior International Debut
Year
2014
Competing for
Netherlands
General Interest
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the S11 400m freestyle at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, one day after her 16th birthday. "It's the best 'gift' I have received so far." (liesettebruinsma.nl, 15 Sep 2020)
Hero / Idol
Dutch Para swimmer Lisette Teunissen. (talentboek.nl, 01 Jan 2015)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I think I can perform under pressure. Even if you are the best in the world, or you have already won gold medals, it is still important to develop yourself - because the competition is hot on your heels. There are always areas for improvement. You have to keep focusing on that." (teamnl.org, 28 Sep 2019)
Awards and honours
In 2019 she was nominated for Paralympic Athlete of the Year by the Dutch Olympic Committee and Dutch Sport Federation [NOC*NSF]. (omropfryslan.nl, 24 Nov 2019; vi.nl, 24 Nov 2019)

In 2019 she was nominated for Best Female Swimmer at the world championships that year. (paralympic.org, 24 Sep 2019)

She was named the 2016 Paralympic Athlete of the Year by the Dutch Olympic Committee and Dutch Sport Federation [NOC*NSF]. (omropfryslan.nl, 22 Dec 2016)

She was named the 2016 Paralympic Athlete of the Year in Friesland, Netherlands. (hzpc-heerenveen.nl, 16 Feb 2017)

In 2016 she was named a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands. (Instagram profile, 29 Feb 2020; tvbolsward.nl, 21 Sep 2016)
Ambitions
To win gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (paralympic.org, 26 Feb 2018)
Other information
STUDIES
She says swimming helped give her confidence in other areas of her life, like study. "Through swimming, I learned to try new things. I was not good at English in high school, but by doing it more often and indicating that I needed extra guidance, I was able to pass my exams. I am now studying psychology, which is largely in English, at the Open University. I can do that at my own pace and mostly online. It is a lot slower than normal, but I like doing something besides my sport. I like to learn." (gehandicaptensport.nl, 09 Oct 2019; teamnl.org, 28 Sep 2019; Instagram profile, 29 Oct 2020)

BIRTHDAY SILVER
At the 2019 World Championships in London, England, she won a silver medal in the S11 50m freestyle on the same day as her 19th birthday. "It went very well. It was the best birthday present ever." (omropfryslan.nl, 09 Sep 2019)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She is an ambassador for the Gehandicaptensport Netherlands foundation, for which she has taught introductory Para swimming classes. Dutch film director Jesse Bleekemolen worked on a documentary about her training in the lead-up to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (paralympic.org, 26 Feb 2018; telegraaf.nl, 02 Jan 2018; gehandicaptensport.nl, 09 Oct 2019)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games (Overall)
Rank Year Event Result
Heats 2016 100m Backstroke S11 1:30.58
1 2016 400m Freestyle S11 5:15.08 
3 2016 50m Freestyle S11 31.23 
2 2016 100m Breaststroke SB11 1:25.81
3 2016 100m Freestyle S11 1:08.55
1 2016 200m Individual Medley SM11 2:49.87 
2 2021 400m Freestyle S11 5:05.34
4 2021 50m Freestyle S11 30.19
5 2021 200m Individual Medley SM11 2:50.78
4 2021 100m Breaststroke SB11 1:27.29
2 2021 100m Freestyle S11 1:06.55
World Championships (Overall)
Rank Year Event Result
2 2019 50m Freestyle S11 30.47
2 2019 100m Breaststroke SB11 1:25.59
1 2019 200m Individual Medley SM11 2:46.49
1 2019 100m Freestyle S11 1:07.26
1 2019 400m Freestyle S11 5:02.19
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
8 2016 100m Backstroke S11 1:30.82
1 2016 400m Freestyle S11 5:20.14
2 2016 50m Freestyle S11 31.22
1 2016 200m Individual Medley SM11 2:54.17
1 2016 100m Breaststroke SB11 1:25.47
3 2016 100m Freestyle S11 1:09.85
2 2018 50m Freestyle S11 30.54
1 2018 100m Breaststroke SB11 1:26.60
1 2018 400m Freestyle S11 5:04.74
1 2018 200m Individual Medley SM11 2:46.58
1 2018 100m Freestyle S11 1:05.14
6 2018 100m Butterfly S12 1:22.28