The establishment and first years of G.S.Z.V. De Golfbreker (1994-1997)

At the dawn of being a student and while being at the KEI-market, I asked the ACLO board what the name of the student swimming club in Groningen was. I was surprised to find out there was only a water polo club! There were open swimming hours organized by the ACLO and I went there for several years, often meeting the same people. Now and then, we mentioned it might be nice if we would set up our own club. Apparently this had been a returning subject over the last few years, but it would be a few more years before something happened about it.

During the spring of 1994, a group of regular swimmers from the ACLO open hours were once again thinking of establishing their own club. They wanted to compete in the NSZK competition, train for it, have fun together, and Groningen can’t do without a student swimming club! The next step was asking around if anyone would be interested in joining such a club. When it was clear that there was an interest, a few passionate people went to work. They called the student water polo club De Walvisch with the question if they could join them, but its board would not allow it, and so the idea of creating a new swimming club was on hold again.

After competing at the NSK together with some people from Groningen in May 1994, the idea was picked up again. Aliët Hoekstra, Trudie van Niejenhuis, Roel Roeloffzen, Bert Plat, Fulco Zegwaard, Martin Moleveld en Amelia Oey went to work. On June 1st 1994 the founding meeting took place at Amelia’s. The club was to be named “De Spetters” (The Splashes), and there was a lot to be done. First, joining the ACLO, the student sport association of Groningen. We had an initial meeting with them on July 5th and they were very happy with our initiative of creating a swimming club. They would temporary recognize our club if we could present by-laws, internal regulations and a list of (possible) board members. Such a list could be presented and we drafted our internal regulations. As an example, we took the internal regulation of the student swimming club from Enschede “Piranha”. In the early years, Piranha was like an older brother to the club. We contacted the KNZB and the NSZK board and recruited members. Summer holidays were coming and we wanted to launch the club on September 1st, the start of the new academic year. The ACLO arranged for us to be present at the KEI-market in August and information about our club was added to the ACLO informational booklet.

After a confused period where possible board members came and went, the conceptual board was decided on on July 18th. From information submitted to the KNZB, it became clear there was already a club named “De Spetters”. Since the KNZB does not allow clubs with identical names and we wanted to be unique ourselves, we had an evening brainstorm session about a new name. After many hours of digging through dictionaries and much fun, it was decided: it would be “De Badslippers” (The Bath Slippers). Very satisfied, everyone went home, but fortunately, the next morning everyone got it tegether and it was decided the name would be something else after all. After a fair voting it became “G.S.Z.V. De Golfbreker” (The Breakwaters).

In August, members were recruited at open ACLO hours and information about De Golfbreker was published in the UK. This resulted in fourteen reactions of interested people.

On Monday evening September 7th, the first training took place at the ALO. The instructor was Johan Poppinga and there were twenty members. Due to limited pool capacity, a member limit of twenty-five was implemented by mid-September and reached quickly. The training time was discussed with the ACLO in September. First they offered one hour, a few moments later that became forty minutes, and then thirty minutes. We doubted if we should continue the creation of the club, but eventually more training time was offered, so we decided to continue. On September 29th 1994 De Golfbreker was temporary recognized by the ACLO.

In October, a bank account was opened in name of De Golfbreker, and by-laws were written. At the beginning of that month, Karen Groenink designed the (still used) logo and the first Golfbreker t-shirt was created. On October 20th 1994, at 16:25, De Golfbreker was born by signing the by-laws at notary Wortelboer in Bedum. The club was registered at the Chamber of Commerce on October 24th and by the end of the month the member limit was raised to thirty, to be able to subscribe more enthusiasts.

On November 1st, the first general member meeting (ALV) took place at the bar “Het Paard van Troje” at eight in the evening. During this meeting, there were, besides the board, thirteen members present, of which nine physically and four thought authorization. The quorum for making decisions was hereby reached. The by-laws were adopted, the internal regulations were established. The first board was chosen, consisting of chairman Fulco, (temporary) secretary with laptop Bert, treasurer Trudy, external commission coordinator Amelia and internal commission coordinator Aliët Hoekstra. The membership cost was set at sixty guilders. A financial commission was chosen (Robert van Waardenburg and Mari Derks), Bianca Keen and Susanne Lueb offered to create an almanac, and Elvira Flikweert and Johan Labberté offered to arrange a dinner. Because Bert was finishing his studies and would be leaving for Amsterdam on December 1st, Adwin Goos took over his function as secretary from that date.

De Golfbreker competed in the student swimming competition for the first time in Enschede on September 24th 1994, and reached fourth place with eight swimmers. The following match on November 5th in Rotterdam, sixteen member competed and third place was reached. On March 1st 1995 De Golfbreker organized her first student swimming competition match in Haren. About one hundred participants from different student cities competed. That season De Golfbreker reached the second place in the competition.

But it wasn’t all about swimming during the first year. Besides swimming, activities were organized by the activity commission, consisting of Elvira Flikweert and Johan Labberté. We had drinks and dinner together, and competed in the club competition at the ACLO and won the fair play prize.

On October 31st 1995 the second ALV took place. Fulco left the board, and everyone else continued with Trudie as the new chairman and Roy Smale as the new treasurer. We competed in the NSZK again, organized our second competition match, competed in the “Lauwersloop”, had drinks, shot at each other while laser gaming and joined the ACLO club competition again. The first Golfbreker almanac named “Het Debuut”, made by Susanne Lueb and Bianca Keen, was presented in June 1996 during a dinner (and the European football championship). That year, four small Golfbreker newspapers were created by the redaction commission. The number of members was limited that season. We went to Schiermonnikoog af the end of the season. After this year, only one conclusion could be reached: De Golfbreker was alive and well.

The third ALV took place on October 3rd 1996. An almost entirely new board was elected. Trudie remained chairman, but everyone else was new: secretary Rolf Toornvliet, treasurer Koos Reitsma, internal commission coordinator Margreet Miedema and external commission coordinator Elvira Flikweert. We received an extra training hour at “De Vinkenborgh” on Thursday, with trainer Gea Veldhuizen. Unfortunately during the winter, a few members left the club due to other engagements. We tried to attract new members through promoting our club: we were interviewed by OOG-radio at the swimming pool “De Vinkenborgh”, which lead to an influx of new members. To improve our stamina, we wanted to do the “BOMmen” workout once a week, but this idea died out quickly because most swimmers become tired from running and jumping. That year, De Golfbreker won the Dutch student swimming competition for the first time, but as we now know, it would not be the last.

On December 11th 1997, after having been temporary recognized, De Golfbreker was permanently recognized by the ACLO by proving to be viable. In the years after, De Golfbreker has kept growing and there have always been members who have managed to keep De Golfbreker a fun and very viable association!

Trudie van Niejenhuis