Aruban freshman Mikel Schreuders brings promise, mystery
Greg Rhodenbaugh: “I think he’s pretty well traveled so that has a way of getting you pretty mature.”
By Peter Baugh
Missouri coach Greg Rhodenbaugh doesn’t know what he is getting in freshman Mikel Schreuders.
In fact, Schreuders doesn’t either.
On Monday, Schreuders turned 17 years old, making him one of the youngest students at Mizzou. A native of Oranjestad, Aruba, he holds his native country’s individual records in both the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle.
Coming from a metric-using nation, Schreuders has never raced in a 25-yard pool, the format for NCAA swim meets. He also never lifted weights before coming to Mizzou. His potential as a Tiger is largely a mystery.
“He’s kind of raw and we can develop him,” Rhodenbaugh said. “I think he’s got a nice ceiling which I have no idea where it is right now but it’s way up there.”
Schreuders joins sophomore Jordy Groters as one of two Arubans on the team. Groters was instrumental in bringing Schreuders to Mizzou.
“My school system is in Dutch, and he knows Dutch, so he can help me whenever in my language when I need him,” Schreuders said. “I’m really thankful that he’s here. He helps me a lot.”
Schreuders’ main goal for the season is to earn an Olympic qualifying time and represent Aruba in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. He is less than a half second off of the qualifying time standard in the 100-meter freestyle.
When Schreuders first arrived at Mizzou at the start of the season, he was worried that his older teammates would be significantly faster than him. Since he arrived, however, he has gained a sense of comfort with the team.
“At first I was really scared but now that I’ve started practice I’ve been training hard,” Schreuders said. “So I think if I keep doing what I’m doing now it should end up fine.”
Physically, Schreuders isn’t fully developed. He still is hoping to grow an inch or two more, and since he has never lifted weights, he is looking forward to putting on more muscle.
Over the past few years, Schreuders has represented Aruba in a number of international meets, including World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Rhodenbaugh feels that this has helped him gain a sense of maturity, despite his young age.
Florida Swim Network