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It’s all going swimmingly!

In August, the world's top Masters swimmers will gather in Japan for an intense competition to challenge their limits and break records in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Watch for our local award-winning athlete, Lene Lund Knudsen, who will compete in butterfly and freestyle races after smashing state and national records this year through Masters Swimming Australia.

bu Angela Reeman-Polinski

Lene Lund Knudsen is known amongst her squad teammates as an inspiring and strong team player who always has a positive word to share to encourage fellow swimmers. In the last two years she has been breaking Masters’ Swimming records and competing internationally. So, how did Lene reach this point?

“I grew up in Denmark and started swimming lessons at age five, after watching my brother Lars in his lessons for years,” shared Lene.

“I swam regularly as part of a local swim club in my primary and senior school years, and my first national competition was at 16, in the 50m, 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly events.

“I loved backstroke, freestyle and butterfly. Butterfly has a nice rhythm to it as a swimming stroke, which I enjoy.”

Lene came over in 2010 to live in Australia after being on holiday before in Australia.

“After moving here, I became more involved in local long-distance ocean swims and swimming laps.”

From 2010 to 2011,Lene studied a Masters at USC on climate change adaptation. This involved environmental management studies, including analysing extreme weather impacts and how the agricultural industry can prepare for these in future.

“I started long-distance running in 2012 with a colleague, and then I became involved in triathlon in 2014.

“However, I had to skip triathlons later after knee injury surgery in 2017 and I started focusing on swimming again. First ocean swims, and then I returned to pool racing in shorter distances.”

Lene found the land and pool rehabilitation useful for her knee surgery recovery.

“While it wasn’t major surgery, keeping it flexible and building back strength in the area was important for the long term.”

In June 2021, Lene signed up with fellow local swimmer Kylie Cornock for their first Masters Swimming meet, and after that event, the pair decided to officially start a local club. “It took a few months of planning and paperwork, but we elected a president, a secretary and a treasurer and together we got the new Beerwah Masters Swim Club up and running,” said Lene with a big smile.

“The club membership grew as local swimmers started signing on to join. Swimmers know it is an individual sport we love, but it's so nice to be part of a team.”

This year, Lene has registered to compete in the World Aquatic Masters championships in Japan from August 5-11. The event will be held across the Island of Kyushu, Japan, in Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Kagoshima.

The event welcomes approximately 10,000 athletes from over 100 countries to compete in various swimming, diving and water polo events.

“It’s such a great opportunity, I thought, why not give it a go! I will compete in the butterfly 50m, 100m, and 200m events and the freestyle 50m and 100m events.”

The competition aims to provide an attractive environment where participants can enjoy the races and their stay in the Japanese cities through various fun events and get-togethers. “I would like to do some sightseeing after the competition as I haven't been to Japan before. I'm looking forward to tasting the food, learning about the Japanese culture and meeting new people,” said Lene.

“One of my next big challenges is learning Japanese phrases before the race period; so for that I will try out a few apps on my phone!”

Lene holds several Queensland state records and one National record in her Masters’ age category, and in March 22, she won the Sunshine Coast Sports Masters Athlete of the Year.

“I love that Sunshine Coast Sports has a Masters category. I was excited to win this award because my teammates had nominated me, which meant so much to me.

“My favourite part of swimming is being part of the team. It's a nice bonus to set records in the water, but it mostly inspires me to swim together and see what we can all do.”

I asked Lene if she would consider professionally coaching in the future, to continue sharing her hard-earned knowledge and passing on new skills as a coaching mentor.

“I taught children’s swimming lessons in Denmark when I was younger, but I would rather be in the water swimming than standing on the pool deck,” Lene admitted.

“My advice for emerging swimmers is to get professional lessons if needed. It's much better to get help with your stroke initially and learn techniques properly to continue improving your skills and enjoy your swimming long term.

“If you are a regular swimmer looking for a group to swim with, look at your local squads. I regret that I didn't start swimming in a local group earlier because it's so much fun and a great way to build up a network of friends who all love swimming.”

Lene said her future goal is to continue to compete through to her eighties in the Masters.

“I see other swimmers doing it now! The Masters’ programs are so welcoming and friendly; I encourage people to get involved and don’t be afraid to come to the pool and join us. You’ll love it.”



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