The Man Who Swims to Work

When Jef Solvsteen is at his home base in Copenhagen and not out visiting SAP customers, he likes to take the opportunity to leave his car in the garage and enjoy his six-kilometer fresh-air commute to work on his bike – come pouring rain or radiant sun. As regional head of SAP Digital Business Services for EMEA North, Jef lives and works in Denmark.

Since he is also an excellent swimmer, one day in July this year he came up with the idea to swim to work. That is a pretty crazy idea, as Jef himself admits. Crazy because we are talking about the open sea — the Øresund, to be precise, the strait of water that separates Denmark from Sweden.

The idea of swimming was not new to Jef. Some people start off their day drinking coffee, Jef swims. This is the time when he gathers inspiration and new ideas, and they come fast, especially when he is circled by stinging jelly fish and needs to react quickly.


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Jef started swimming at the age of eight and ended up competing in national swimming competitions. Often, youth sports habits slip away as we grow older and take on family and work responsibilities. Not so with Jef. Though he has a tremendously busy schedule at work and at home, Jef not only retains his passion for swimming but it is also part of his family’s daily agenda. His son has stepped in his footsteps and joined the national swimming team.

Staying fit is important to Jef. It is also important to him that his team of 456 dedicated players keep healthy as well. That is why the team set up a step challenge called through the a Fit@SAP program: “Warming up to Q4 Together – Keeping the Pace.” This fun competition is one way Jef ensures that his team feels as one.

“When you do something together, you are going to be amazing, and there are no limits to your ability to master the elements or to reach the shared goals for furthering the success of our customers and reaching the business targets for SAP,” says Jef.