The International Swimming Festival- A Success Story
In 1963, ASV06 held its first International Swimming Festival (ISF). No one could have foreseen how it would evolve from those humble beginnings. The founders of the ISF wanted to host a truly international meet. Up until that point, meets had been referred to as ‚international‘ but they were in reality only domestic or local club meets.
In the first years it was a purely female swim meet. The first winners of the City of Aachen’s Trophy were the Southall SC from London, England. Due to the tireless dedication of Claus Vandenhirtz, more and more clubs from different nations started coming to Aachen. It was common practice at that time to offer accommodations to athletes in local host families. Over the years many friendships were formed which ultimately benefitted the Swimming Festival as well.
In 1993 and 1994 the club underwent changes and the ISF didn’t take place. The event took place once again in 1995 under the leadership of Holger van Bergen. He brought new concepts to the ISF such as electronic timing with an electronic results board. This consequently made it much more interesting for spectators. Furthermore, for the first time prize money was offered, a new concept in the German swimming community.
The „small but mighty“ International Swimming Festival in 1995 started setting a string of meet records and continues to this day. Of 34 standing records, 18 of them were broken at that first meet! Some of these records had stood for over 10 years! Without a doubt, anyone who witnessed the legendary 200 meter freestyle women’s final would never forget it. Dagmar Hase swam and set a sensational best time. She set a meet record that stood for over 10 years and this time would have qualified her for the WC title that year.
To this day, clubs from all over Europe and even the USA have competed in Aachen at the ISF. Through word of mouth it has become known that the Osthalle (name of the pool) has a very fast field. Since then there have been over 100 National records set at the ISF. The current organizers are particularly proud that it isn’t just one star or individual that has dominated the field. It has been shown again and again that there is a deep field competing at the ISF. This in turn attracts a full house of spectators for the finals.
Due to its reputation, the ISF is an official short course qualification meet for the Royal Dutch Swimming Federation (NED).
Thomas Rupprath, the European Champion who set and held the record for the 50 and 100 meter butterfly at the ISF in 2005, discovered that records are made to be broken. At the 2006 ISF, Berlin’s Johannes Dietrich beat Rupprath’s best times in these events. His time of 23.20 seconds in the 50 meter butterfly beat the European Champion titleholder that day.
We hope you don’t pass up on the chance to be part of the ISF’s interested spectators who have come to watch one of the fastest swim events in Germany. Each final heat is accompanied by rousing music and a lightshow. The finals promise a thrilling event showcasing extraordinary talent.