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MUSST with Anouk Pouwelse

The new University Sports Centre officially opened earlier this year boasting more modern and spacious sports facilities, increased study spaces and a chic Sports Café Time Out! One of the first to move in in the new building is the university sports council, MUSST. They have their office right by the main entrance and you’ve most likely met them as they are the ones to greet you and scan your sports card. But do you know who MUSST is and what exactly they do? Read on to find out!

Interview and photography: Brian Megens
Interview and text: Karissa Atienza

MUSST

MUSST

What is MUSST?
MUSST stands for Maastricht University Student Sports Council. We are the coordinating body for all the sports associations. There are 26 associations right now and each has their own board. We act as the umbrella organisation above these 26 boards. Our job is to help the sports associations and the board members in their functions.

UM Sports Gym

UM Sports Gym

What does MUSST do?
Our task ranges from administration work to organisational matters. In terms of administration, we handle the requests for administrative board months as well as helping sports association apply for various subsidies, register for tournaments and so on. We help in setting up new sports associations. For example, earlier this year, we helped the cheerleading team become an official UM sports association and get to know the other associations.

We also take care of the organisational matters for various events like the Batavierenrace (the largest relay race in the world) and the Faculty Fight 2016 (the friendly battle between the six UM faculties) as well as inter-university competitions like the GNSK (Large National Student Championships). In the beginning of the year, we also organise a board weekend for all sports association for everyone to get to know each other and also for them to know that they can come to us for help.

UM Sports

UM Sports

What has changed this year especially with the news sports centre?
It’s really important that we’re now by the entrance of the University Sports Centre. We’re more visible and easier for people to approach so everyone gets to see us and can get to know us. There’s also a lot more promotion for the sports association. Since more sports associations are housed here and more activities are done here in the Sports Centre, the sports association can get more members because they’re more visible to everyone and it’s just more convenient. The number of associations also increased this year which was only possible because of the new building. We’re really happy with the new building!

MUSST

MUSST

For more information on MUSST, check out their website. Would you like to represent 26 student sports association for one year, in the function of president, secretary, treasurer or PR-sponsoring commissioner? Send an e-mail to bestuur@musst.nl before Friday, 24 June!

Would you like to represent 26 student sports association for one year, in the function of president, secretary, treasurer or PR-sponsoring commissioner? Send an e-mail to bestuur@musst.nl before Friday, 24 June!

© Brian Megens

Interview with the Freediving World Champion Jeanine

How many of us can claim to be a World Champion at our 20s? At 22, Jeanine Grasmeijers is the reigning Freediving World Champion. She set a World Record in 2013 for the Free Immersion discipline with a record depth of 90m. She also holds the National Record for 4 other freediving disciplines. She recently came back from a competition in Mexico, her last for this year’s season, where she had an overall first place.

© Brian Megens

Jeanine Grasmeijer

Personal info
Name: Jeanine Grasmeijers
Age: 22
Study: BSc Medicine graduate, incoming MSc Medicine student

What is freediving?
Freediving is a breathe-holding sport where you try to go as deep or as long as possible with just one breathe. With the latter, it’s either ‘static apnea’ so you hold your breath while lying face down in a pool, or you swim horizontally which is called ‘dynamic apnea’. When you try to go as deep as possible, there’s a floating platform with a weighted rope attached to it that is set to a certain depth. The goal is to reach the end of the rope. In ‘constant weight apnea,’ you dive with fins but you’re not allowed to actively use the rope during the dive, whereas in ‘constant weight apnea without fins’ you do it without fins. ‘Free immersion apnea’ is where you use the rope to pull yourself up and down but you’re not allowed to use fins. Aside from the sport, there’s also a recreative side to it, so you can go diving with sharks or see coral reefs.

How and when did you start freediving?
I’ve been swimming since I was little, but never competitively. I did it for my own enjoyment and because I like the silence and the serenity of it. When I finished high school, I went backpacking in Southeast Asia. I did a regular diving course in Thailand but it wasn’t what I expected, I felt very heavy and restricted. A few months later, I found out about a free diving school so I did a course there and found out that I’m really good at it and I really enjoyed it. So I got into competitions thanks to my instructor who I did my first static breathe hold with, which was 5 mins for the very first time, and he said we can train you for a Dutch record, you’re not very far off!

© Brian Megens

Jeanine Grasmeijer at Maas

How do you train?
I would train for a competition at least 6 weeks in advance where I increase my depth 3-5m at a time. I do pool training where I do dynamic and static dives to train my apneatic ability and to prepapre my body for the depth. Outside deep diving season, I do swimming, running, and just regular exercise. Yoga also goes very well with deep diving. It makes you flexible and has this spiritual side to it and freediving can be spiritual because of the whole underwater meditation.

What is the key to freediving?
Freediving is a very mental sport. We say that it’s 80% mental and 20% physical. If you would tell somebody to go to 10m, he’d probably be afraid because he can’t breathe and there’s all this water above him. Once you’re at 10m, you can’t go back at once, you’ll have to swim up so the tendency is to panic. That’s the hard part, also for us because we don’t go down to just 10m, we go up to 80m! So even we are stressed out because when you’re freediving, you’re really on your own. The key is to be in a meditative state. The brain is the main oxygen user so you have to try to switch it off, kind of. You have to be very efficient with your movements and eliminate stressful thoughts. The challenge is that you’re going to dive at immense depth, but you can’t stress about it!

© Brian Megens

Jeanine Grasmeijer

What do you think of Maastricht?

I like the city, it has a nice atmosphere. It’s not a scary city at all, it’s a very kind city, I think. Maastricht is clean and it looks good. Everything is within 15 mins. It’s cosy!

What’s your favourite places in Maastricht?

I enjoy spending my time at the Geusseltbad (Maastricht’s local swimming pool) and hanging out at the Tramhalte restaurant and bar at Cannerplein. I always recommend the Boekhandel Dominicanen. For me, it’s the most beautiful bookstore in the world. I also like the two-dimensional paintings at the Vrijthof. You can see them best at the top of the Sint Jans Kerk.

Maastricht in three words:
Historical, prosperous, and cosy.

Watch Jeanine talk about freediving at RTL Late Night, the national talkshow in the Netherlands, and be inspired!

Jeanine Grasmeijer

Text: Karissa Atienza
Photography: Brian Megens