WEEKEND WRAP: A haul of cycling gold and International Swimming League domination

Submitted by admin on Mon, 10/21/2019 - 10:35
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Sally Fitzgibbons
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It was on both the track and the water that Australia's Tokyo 2020 hopefuls shone over the weekend, with the Aus Cycling Team picking up a swag of medals along with plenty of time atop the ISL podium for the Aussie Dolphins.

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CYCLING

The Australian Cycling Team wrapped up the Oceania Champs in Invercargill on the weekend with five gold medals highlighting the team's results along with one silver and two bronze.

The golden finishes came through Amy Cure and Alexandra Manly along with Sam Welsford and Kelland O'Brien in the Women's and Men's Madison, Amy Cure in the Points Race, Steph Morton in the Sprint, and Conor Leahy in the Individual Pursuit.

Maeve Plouffe claimed silver in the Individual Pursuit and bronze in the Points Race, while it was bronze for Kaarle McCulloch in the Sprint.

SWIMMING

Australia’s swimmers kicked off the Dallas leg of the International Swimming League (ISL), competing for London Roar and the New York Breakers.

Rio 2016 quadruple medallist, Emma McKeon took the early lead for London Roar, finishing first in the Women’s 100m Butterfly and second in the 200m Freestyle, with Aussie teammate but ISL rival - Olympic gold and silver medallist Maddy Wilson finishing in second for the New York Breakers.

Minna Atherton also topped the podium in both the Women’s 50m and 200m Backstroke, while teammate Holly Barratt came third in the 50m Backstroke.

Dual Olympian Bronte Campbell kicked off the women’s team in the 4x100m Freestyle relay, while sister and dual-Olympic Champion, Cate Campbell anchored the Roar to a first-place finish.

The Campbell sisters continued to dominate, with Cate taking out another first place in the Women’s 50m free, while Bronte was close behind in third.

Aussie Dolphin, Roar teammate and Olympic Champion, Kyle Chalmers claimed the top spot in the Men’s 100m Freestyle with dual Olympian Cam McEvoy placing seventh. Chalmers also anchored the Roar to first place in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay and placed second in the Men’s 50m Freestyle and the 4x100m Freestyle Relay.

Matthew Wilson took out the Men’s 200m Breaststroke and finished first in the 50m Breast, while Jess Hansen came fourth in the Women’s 50m Breaststroke and Rio 2016 silver medallist Taylor McKeown finished sixth in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke.

SURFING

It was a triple-threat for Australia's female surfers at the Portugal Pro, with Steph Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons and Nikki Van Dijk all making it through to the quarterfinals along with teammate, Jack Freestone for the men. With competition on standby, the Aussies will contest the quarterfinals once Peniche weather permits. You can track their progress HERE.

Soli Bailey, Wade Carmichael, Keely Andrew, Macy Callaghan and Bronte Macaulay all made it as far as the Round of 16, while Adrian Buchan, Julian Wilson and Owen Wright were knocked out in the Round of 32.

TABLE TENNIS

Five-time Olympian, Jian Fang Lay flew the flag for Australia at the International Table Tennis Federation Women’s Table Tennis World Cup. Lay competed in Group C coming up against Germany’s Petrissa Solja and was defeated 4-3 before proceeding to Taipei’s Szu-Yu Chen, going down 4-1.

Dual Madison gold and Morton sprint victory cap Oceania Champs

Submitted by admin on Mon, 10/21/2019 - 09:57
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Amy Cure and Alexandra Manly - Dianne Manson
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The Australian Cycling Team wrapped up the Oceania Champs in Invercargill on the weekend with five gold medals highlighting the team's results along with one silver and two bronze.

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The golden finishes came through Amy Cure and Alexandra Manly along with Sam Welsford and Kelland O'Brien in the Women's and Men's Madison, Amy Cure in the Points Race, Steph Morton in the Sprint and Conor Leahy in the Individual Pursuit. Maeve Plouffe claimed silver in the Individual Pursuit and bronze in the Points Race, while it was bronze for Kaarle McCulloch in the Sprint.

Morton powered to gold in the women's sprint over hometown favourite Olivia Podmore. 

"Off the back of knee surgery backing up is pretty tough so I just wanted to go out there and get the set up right and then whatever happened at the end happened, so to get the win. I'm really happy."

Kaarle McCulloch, who rode a personal best to top qualifying in 10.759secs, won bronze.

In the Madisons, Amy Cure and Alexandra Manly dominated the elite women's 30km final ahead of the New Zealand combination of Michaela Drummond and Jessie Hodges.

Kelland O'Brien and Sam Welsford won gold in the men's 40km event, sealing the win after Welsford took victory in the double points final lap.

Amy Cure made it three gold for the Championships after claiming points race gold to add to her scratch race victory earlier in the week.

Top qualifier Conor Leahy took out the elite men's 4000m individual pursuit, with the Western Australian fending off New Zealand's former world champion Jordan Kerby in the final.

"I always tend to back up pretty hard, so I had good confidence that I could put it to Kerbs - he's a renowned IP, so I knew I had a good challenge ahead of me, but I just went out hard and tried to stick to as good a time as possible."

Maeve Plouffe's comeback following wrist surgery continued with silver in the elite women's 3000m individual pursuit and bronze in the points race.

Australian Cycling Team

Australia finishes first ever World Beach Games campaign with Wakeboarding silver and world class experience

Submitted by admin on Thu, 10/17/2019 - 16:14
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Cory Teunissen Wakeboarding
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The Australian team has finished its inaugural ANOC World Beach Games in Doha with one silver medal and promising performances from 40 Australian athletes across seven sports.

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Pitted against more than 1200 athletes from 100 countries, the Games provided invaluable experience for Australian athletes to develop their skills and grow as part of an elite multisport team.

Chef de Mission John Boultbee said this Games experience would provide ongoing benefit to athletes on their performance journey.

“All 40 Australian athletes represented their country and sport with pride to put their best performance on the sand,” Boultbee said.

“The Games have provided vital experience for athletes to compete at an elite global level in a multisport Team, that will continue to benefit them in their next sporting endeavours and I look forward to following their athletic journeys moving forward.

“I also want to thank the event organisers and city of Doha for providing excellent venues and a smooth Games environment allowing our athletes to focus on their performance.”

The Games provided an opportunity not only the 40 Australian athletes competing, but to showcase innovative sporting disciplines that appeal to Australia’s sporting community.

Gold Coast local Cory Teunissen won silver in Wakeboarding to secure Australia’s only medal of the Games, putting Australia 23rd on the medal table.

“To win Australia’s first medal at the first ever Beach Games, I’m just stoked,” Teunissen said.

“To be part of this awesome event and included in the Olympic environment has been great for me and great for our sport. Winning this medal for our whole Team is a really humbling experience.”

The Kitefoiling pair of Breiana Whitehead of Townsville and Natalie Flintrop of Melbourne epitomised the Australian spirit at the Games. After finishing their competition in 4th and 8th respectively in yesterday’s finals, the pair were straight back on the Doha water today to maximise their experience.

“The light and patchy conditions here are rarely available at home,” 19-year-old Whitehead said. “We want to get as much time as possible on the water so next time we’re racing in these conditions we’ve got that experience behind us.

“Competition may have finished but we can still get even more out of it. I’ve learned so many lessons this regatta –I can focus more on them in training at home and be a better racer because of the World Beach Games.”

48-year-old Flintrop took confidence from improving throughout the regatta and leaves knowing she can mix it with the best in the world.

“I didn’t know what to expect results wise these Games, but to get better and better each race and to know I have it in me to go toe to toe with world class racers is a great feeling,” she said. 

Sixteen-year-old Alisha Stevens was the youngest member of the team, part of the women’s 4x4 Beach Volleyball team that just missed bronze in a tournament that included FIVB World Tour event champions.

“This has been an amazing week, playing with these girls who have played all round the world and learning as much as I can from them has been a highlight,” Stevens said.

“Even though just missing the medals is tough, I’ve gotten so much experience from these Games in playing through pressure and in different environments, that will hopefully help me to be standing on a podium for Australia in the future.”

TEAM RESULTS

Beach Handball 

•    Women – 11th
•    Men – 8th

Handballer Rosa boyd also led the Australian Team as the official athlete representative at the Opening Ceremony. Find out more here.

Beach Volleyball 4x4

•    Women – 4th
•    Men – 5th

Read more here.

Karate

•    Marianna Sampani – 17th
•    Shaun Yuen – 17th

Find out more about Marianna and Shaun here.

Kitefoil Racing

•    Breiana Whitehead – 4th
•    Natalie Flintrop – 8th 

Catch the finals reaction here.

Sports Climbing

•    Oceania Mackenzie – 17th
•    Campbell Harrison – 19th 

Swimming – Open Water 5km

•    Mackenzie Brazier – 16th
•    Bailey Armstrong – 14th

Find out more here.

Wakeboarding

•    Cory Teunissen - silver

Catch up on Australia's wakeboarding medal run here.

About the Games

The Qatar 2019 World Beach Games saw more than 1200 athletes from almost 100 nations compete in 14 sports from 12-16 October.

The 40-strong Australian Team competed across Beach Volleyball, Karate, Sailing, Swimming, Sport Climbing, Beach Handball and Wakeboarding.

The Games offer a new take on the traditional Olympic schedule, showcasing new disciplines for Olympic sports like 4x4 Beach Volleyball, Beach Handball and Kitefoil Sailing.

The Games are organised by the Association of National Olympic Committees and aim to connect the Olympic community with new sporting disciplines centred on the beach.
 

Crumpler

Submitted by admin on Thu, 10/17/2019 - 10:35
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Sponsor Introduction Content

Iconic Australian baggage brand Crumpler has been named the official luggage supplier to the 2020 Australian Olympic Team. Crumpler will design a bespoke and premium luggage collection for Australia's most accomplished athletes. In collaboration with the Australian Olympic Committee, Crumpler will support the Australian Team for the second time as the official luggage partner at the Tokyo Olympics. Crumpler also armed the national team for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil. "As an iconic Australian founded and owned brand Crumpler is excited to continue our support of Team Australia through the 2020 Games in Tokyo," said Crumpler Chief Executive Officer Adam Wilkinson. "Our first-ever Australian Olympic sponsorship at Rio 2016 proved to be a meaningful platform to support our athletes and showcase our innovative luggage products to consumers globally. “We are proud to be supporting the Australian Olympic Team for the second straight Olympic campaign and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 25th birthday than by designing quality and stylish luggage worthy of our Olympians,” said Wilkinson.

The announcement comes as the iconic Australian brand celebrates its 25th year. Established in 1995, Crumpler began as a Melbourne based messenger bag company but has since expanded globally and expanded its product range, most notably into lifestyle and casual bags, camera bags, backpacks, work packs, luggage and travel goods. Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll says he’s delighted Crumpler are on board for Tokyo 2020. “We aim to give our athletes the best possible environment to perform and having Crumpler on the Team ensures the athletes have their luggage covered. It’s good to travel with the best.” “The Australian Team to Tokyo 2020 could be one of the largest ever and they will be travelling with luggage kit that is stylish and dependable. We are grateful for Crumpler’s support.” Crumpler has a retail and online presence in Australia, Europe, USA and Asia, with more than 31 storefronts and distribution across 37 key department store and online retailers worldwide.

Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1995, Crumpler was created to address the needs of bicycle couriers looking for good-looking and cleverly designed messenger bags. That same creative spirit has transcended time and remains today with the Crumpler team constantly evolving its range of carrier solutions, designed to meet the needs of busy people, creative thinkers and innovators who pack a lot into their days.

Volleyballers pipped in bronze medal nailbiter

Submitted by admin on Thu, 10/17/2019 - 08:43
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The women’s Beach Volleyball 4x4 team fell agonisingly short of a podium finish, going down 21-17, 15-21, 14-16 in the bronze medal playoff against Canada.

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After taking the first set, the Australian team of Christie Jenkins, Britt Kendall, Johannah Rohkamper, Alisha Stevens and Stef Weiler were unable to close out the match in a tight struggle.

Kendall said despite the disappointment the team would use the experience to grow as a team.

“We’re super disappointed but I’m also really happy with the volleyball the girls put together tonight,” Kendall said.

“We fought really hard and we worked really well as a team. For it to not come off in such a tight game is just how sport can go. We’ll work really hard as a team to come back from this and continue to get better.

“Coming together for this tournament into a 4x4 from normal pairs is really different - being used to playing with one person and knowing them inside out and knowing each other’s style of play to gelling as a new team of four was a good learning experience.”

After losing to Canada 2-0 in the pool stages, the Australians looked set to reverse the scoreline in the medal rounds after a strong first set. However the Canadians rebounded strongly to take the second and close out the game in a nailbiting deciding set.

Sixteen-year-old Alisha Stevens was looking at the positives the Australians could take from the tournament.

“Missing out on a medal like this is tough, but it’s been an amazing experience,” she said. “Playing with these girls who have so much talent and learning as much as I can from them has been the highlight.

“We definitely improved as the tournament went on. Even though we lost the bronze game, but we’re still playing for Australia on the international stage. 

“I’ve gotten so much experience from these Games, playing through pressure and in different environments, that will hopefully help me to be standing on a podium for Australia in the future.”

 

Beach Handball finishes World Beach Games with marathon penalty shootout

Submitted by admin on Thu, 10/17/2019 - 07:36
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The men’s Handball team finished their World Beach Games campaign with a nailbiting penalty shootout loss against European champions Denmark.

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After finishing regular time tied a set a piece, 19-16, 21-28, the Aussies went down 16-14 in a marathon penalty shootout.

Defender Jonathan Robson said the tight finished showed how exciting Beach Handball can be as a player and spectator.

“That was the longest penalty shootout I’ve ever been in,” he said. “It’s a nailbiter but that’s the beauty of the sport. It’s set up for these intense moments so we enjoy it as much as we can.

“On the sideline I can’t impact the result so I to I just try to enjoy it, it’s part of why we love the game.”

The men’s team finish their campaign in eighth place, a solid improvement from their 2018 World Championships 13th place.

“The World beach Games experience has been fantastic,” Robson said. “Our goal coming here was to advance from the group stage into that top eight which we achieved.”

“The experience of playing Qatar in front of the home crowd in the quarter-finals was a big buzz, it was an incredible atmosphere and a real highlight.”

With the Games aiming to showcase exciting takes on traditional Olympic sports, the spectacular goal-scoring manoeuvres and consistently tight contests central to Beach Handball is right at home for beach loving Australian sports fans.

“Beach handball is such a fun sport to play and to watch, the atmosphere is great,” Robson said. “You can give it a go at beaches right around the country - I started when I was invited by a few mates, we can set up our own court and have a game on the beach whenever we like.

“And it’s a sport that’s let me experience things like this – to travel the world playing a sport I love and be part of these big events is incredible.”You can find out more about Beach Handball here.

Lee excited to dive into uncharted waters at Tokyo 2020

Submitted by admin on Wed, 10/16/2019 - 15:00
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Kareena Lee - Getty Images
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Marathon swimmer Kareena Lee was today announced as Australia’s fourth selected athlete for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

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It was a welcome achievement for the resilient 25-year-old who almost gave up her swimming career after missing out on Rio 2016. 

Her seventh-place finish in the Women’s 10km event at the 2019 World Championships in July earned her the Australian Dolphin Swim Team’s first Tokyo 2020 spot. 


“It’s so amazing, it just makes it so much more real now that it’s official,” Lee said. 

“Tokyo is less than a year away now so I’m really keen to knuckle down, get training and get ready.”  

It was less than four years ago that Lee almost gave up her sport, after missing out on selection for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

In 2015, Lee was pulled from the World Aquatic Championships after collapsing and being hospitalised following the Women’s 10km Open Water Race. 

The then 22-year-old was treated for a combination of asthma, dehydration, hypothermia and a facial injury, which saw her ruled out of the 25km event, where she was aiming for a top-10 finish and Rio Olympic qualification. 


“Missing out on Rio, makes qualifying for Tokyo so much more meaningful,” Lee said. 

“Thinking that back then, I wasn’t even going to continue my sport, I never could have guessed that at 25 I’d still be swimming or that I would have qualified for my debut Olympic Games. 

“It just makes it so special and to think that if I had given up after Rio, I wouldn’t be here. It’s just crazy to think of what I could have missed out on,” she continued. 

Lee was presented her QANTAS boarding pass and ASICS Happi Coat by three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic Champion, Susie O'Neill.

"I was so starstruck meeting Susie," Lee said.

"She's the first person I ever watched at an Olympics and seeing her win gold really inspired me. The way she became "Madame Butterfly" made me want to become "Madame Butterfly", even though butterfly wasn't my discipline."

Lee’s legendary coach, John ‘JR’ Rodgers spoke about how proud he was of Lee, saying the two paired up under ‘do or die’ circumstances.

“When Kareena came to me after she missed out on the 800m as well as the Open Water [for Rio], it was virtually a do or die situation,” the 81-year-old said. 


“After Rio she was at the stage of giving it all away. 

“Luckily she didn’t give up because Kareena is one of the best trainees I’ve had in my 51 years of coaching,” Rodgers continued.  

“I’ve trained Olympians, record holders and she is up there with one of the best. She’s so pedantic about what she does and very much deserves to be going to Tokyo.” 

Lee credits Rodgers as the number one reason behind her recent success and selection for Tokyo, but due to emergency open heart surgery earlier this year, Lee had to compete at the 2019 World Championships without her trusted coach and advisor. 

“The number one person I would credit in getting me this far, is my coach, JR. 

“He’s just so inspirational, so motivating and so confident. Without him I don’t think I’d be in the mental state to get to where I am.” 


Lee also spoke about the support she receives from her partner and family when trying to juggle the life of an elite athlete. 

“My fiancé, Callum (Clark) and the support he shows me is amazing. It can’t be easy being the partner of an elite athlete. I don’t always have time to spend with him, but he is so understanding and very supportive and of course I wouldn’t be here without my parents,” Lee said. 

“Without them getting me to training and encouraging me to keep going in my younger years, I wouldn’t be here, so I am just so thankful to them as well.” 

Lee is the fourth selected member of the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team. She joins sailors Matt Wearn, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, who were selected in September. 

Get to know more about Kareena HERE and see the current selected Tokyo 2020 Team HERE.

Liana Buratti

Daily Wrap - Top 4 in Kitefoiling and women's Volleyball to play for bronze

Submitted by admin on Wed, 10/16/2019 - 07:41
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Fierce finals foil racing, volleyballers to play for bronze and a well-earned win for Aussie handballers headlines the penultimate day of the ANOC World Beach Games.

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Sailing

Breiana Whitehead made the final four and Natalie Flintrop jumped two spots to finish eighth on finals day in the ANOC World Beach Games Kitefoil Racing.

19-year-old Whitehead won her two-race semi-final to progress to the final after finishing the preliminaries in fourth spot, and finished just outside the medals in with a tight final race won by multiple World Champion Daniela Moroz of the United States.

“I’m feeling so happy to make it into the final and be right up there with the top level of racers,” she said.

“I got a message from my family, they were glued to the live stream, and they’re really proud. Our races aren’t normally broadcast, so to have that as part of the World Beach Games and know we have people back home watching and following is such a cool feeling.”

47-year-old Flintrop was ecstatic to have her best performance of the regatta in her second semi-final race.

“That was amazing, I’m pumped to be able to put my best run out there in the semis,” she said. 

“I tried a new tactic, I took a completely different course, tacking out straight away so I had my own space away from the other racers. It worked really well, I was first to the top mark which hasn’t happened the whole regatta.

“I didn’t know what to expect results wise these Games, but to better and better each race and to know I have it in me is a great feeling. And how lucky are we to get the chance to do it in this venue, with incredible architecture everywhere we look.

Find out more here.

Beach Volleyball 4x4

The women’s 4x4 Volleyball team faced Brazil in semi-final action at Al Gharaffa Sports Club, with the undefeated Brazilians too strong for Australia.

The Australians were overwhelmed 21-10, 21-11 by a Brazilian team boasting FIVB Tour event winners.

The Australians will look to bounce back in tomorrow’s bronze medal playoff against Canada, where they will look to avenge their 2-0 pool round loss to the Canadians.

As the last event for the Australian Team at the first ever World Beach Games, the women’s team will look to close the Games out with a second medal for the country at the Games in their bronze medal matchup.

You can follow the team in action on the live stream from midnight AEDT.

Beach Handball 

The women’s Handball team closed their World Beach Games campaign with a straight sets win over Tunisia 14-13, 13-11.

The team were rewarded for a tournament filled with competitive games and near misses, enjoying closing out the tournament with a well-earned victory.

The men’s team went down to Croatia in their 5-8 ranking game. The team were once again right in the mix, losing an incredibly tight first set 21-20 before the Croats ran away with the second set 35-26.

The men will face Denmark in the 8th place playoff, and will look to reverse their narrow pool round loss to the Europeans.

Kitefoilers in top eight at World Beach Games

Submitted by admin on Wed, 10/16/2019 - 06:23
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Breiana Whitehead made the final four and Natalie Flintrop jumped two spots to finish eighth on finals day in the ANOC World Beach Games Kitefoil Racing.

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19-year-old Whitehead won her two-race semi-final to progress to the final after finishing the preliminaries in fourth spot, and finished just outside the medals in with a tight final race won by multiple World Champion Daniela Moroz of the United States.

Whitehead, who competed in 10 races across the competition including preliminaries and finals, was proud to be in the mix for medals at the Games.

“I’m feeling so happy to make it into the final and be right up there with the top level of racers,” she said.

“I got a message from my family, they were glued to the live stream, and they’re really proud. Our races aren’t normally broadcast, so to have that as part of the World Beach Games and know we have people back home watching and following is such a cool feeling.”

The World Beach Games Kitefoiling competition featured shorter races than regularly seen on the sport’s international circuit.

“The different race length really changed our strategy,” Whitehead said. “That was some really intense racing today – it makes the start even more important and means any little error can put you at the back of the fleet and it’s almost impossible to come back from.

“I’ve learned so many lessons this regatta –I can focus more on them in training at home and be a better racer for the experience.”

48-year-old Flintrop has extensive water experience across wakeboarding and waterskiing but has found her sporting niche in Kitefoiling. She was ecstatic to have her best performance of the regatta in her second semi-final race.

“That was amazing, I’m pumped to be able to put my best run out there in the semis,” she said. 

“I tried a new tactic, I took a completely different course, tacking out straight away so I had my own space away from the other racers. It worked really well, I was first to the top mark which hasn’t happened the whole regatta.

Melbourne-based Flintrop finished 3rd in her second semi-final race, and while carryover points form the preliminaries meant it wasn’t enough to make the final, it pushed her from tenth to eight overall.

“I didn’t know what to expect results wise these Games, but to better and better each race and to know I have it in me is a great feeling. And how lucky are we to get the chance to do it in this venue, with incredible architecture everywhere we look.

“From the minute I got my uniform this Games has been the best experience – I put it all on the second it arrived in the mail and I’ve been so pumped ever since.”

With Kitefoil Racing on the Olympic schedule for Paris 2024, Australians will get the chance to see Brei, Natalie and other Australian kitefoilers as they go after their Olympic dream. 

Kareena Lee

Submitted by admin on Tue, 10/15/2019 - 16:00
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Kareena Lee - Tokyo 2020 selection
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Kareena Lee
Medal Tally
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Athlete Profile Details
First Name
Kareena
Last Name
Lee
Gender
Female
Date of Birth
Date of Birth Raw
16/12/1993
Birth Country
Australia
Birth Country Raw
Australia
Athlete Introduction

Fast Facts

Sport: Swimming
Event: Marathon Swimming
Olympic History: Debut
Coach: John "JR" Rodgers
Club: Noosa Swimming Club
Year Born: 1993 (25)
State Born: QLD

About Kareena

“When someone says you can’t do it, do it twice and take a picture,” - that is the motto of Sunshine Coast open water swimmer, Kareena Lee, but her journey towards an Olympic debut has been one of resilience.

Four years ago, Lee, a Rio 2016 hopeful, was pulled from the 2015 World Aquatic Championships after collapsing and being hospitalised following the Women’s 10km Open Water Race.

The then 22-year-old was treated for a combination of asthma, dehydration, hypothermia and a facial injury. 

A top ten finish in the final 25km event would have guaranteed Lee Olympic qualification, but she was pulled from the race on medical grounds and heartbreakingly missed out on her chance at Rio 2016.

Although devastated, Lee’s determination and grit served her well and while it’s not uncommon to hear of the many accolades Australia has collected over shorter distance swimming, it has been ten years since an Australian woman has led the competition in open water swimming. That is, until recently. 
 

In 2018, Lee competed in both the pool and open water at the 2018 edition of the Pan Pacifics at Hojo Beach Tateyama, Japan. 

Lee finished fourth in the women’s 1500m freestyle ahead of claiming silver in the 10km open water event, a significant achievement as it was her first major international open water medal, apart from her world cup bronze.

In 2019, the primary school qualified teacher really started to make her mark. She won the Midmar Mile, once known as the world’s largest open water event, she also claimed silver at the Women’s 10km Open events at the Australian Open Water Championships and the Pan Pacifics.

But it was her seventh placing at Women’s 10km event at the 2019 World Championships in July at Yeosu EXPO Ocean Park in South Korea that earned her the Australian Dolphin Swim Team’s first Tokyo 2020 qualification spot and had her exclaiming, “FINALLY!”

“It’s an amazing feeling to be nominated, it’s been a long time coming with lots of ups and downs in my career and ... Finally!”

It was a tight tussle for the world crown with just 3.3 seconds separating the winner and seventh-placed Lee, in the race which took nearly two hours.

It had been a dramatic week for Lee, as the day before her race, it was announced her legendary Australian swim coach John "JR" Rodgers, who has guided the likes of Olympians such as Michelle Ford, Max Metzker, Ron McKeon, Graeme Brewer, Bronte Barrett and Kylie Palmer was on track for a full recovery after undergoing major open-heart surgery on a 10cm tear in his aorta.

The 81-year-old had been unable to travel to the world championships after becoming ill while swimming in a pool. Lee dealt with the emotional toll of worrying for and being without her trusted advisor by her side, but in the end, she was able to achieve their goal.

After the race, an emotional Lee spoke to Rodgers by telephone. 

“I just wanted to do it for him,” she said about her achievement. 

“Ringing him today after the race and hearing how proud he was, just makes it special.”

One month after her world championships success, Lee competed in the ‘Ready Steady Tokyo’ event, a test event for the 2020 Olympic venue, Japan’s Odaiba Marine Park. 

With the water temperature averaging 30 degrees, the Marathon Swim race distance was reduced to 5km, rather than the planned 10km. Competing against a dozen other nations, Lee won the event and certainly gained valuable experience at the venue where she will make her Olympic debut.

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Career Highlights

Pan Pacific Games – 2018 Marathon Swim silver; 1500m freestyle 4th
World Championships - 2019 Marathon Swim – 7th, 5km Team Relay – 5th

Education

Tertiary – Primary Education, University of the Sunshine Coast.

Training

Coach: John Rodgers
Club: Noosa Aquatic Centre
Institute: QAS

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Q&A

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What inspired your to pursue your sport?

I was encouraged by my brother and the drive to want to beat him!

Who/what was your biggest Inspiration?

Susie O'Neill. She's the first person I ever watched at an Olympics and seeing her win gold really inspired me. The way she became "Madame Butterfly" made me want to become "Madame Butterfly, even though butterfly wasn't my discipline.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Set-backs are just bumps in the road to greatness

When did you start swimming?

I started swimming in backyard pool because my parents would throw me in. As I got older I went through 'learn to swim.'  I didn't start marathon swimming until I was 18. My coach at the time threw me in the deep end at a Junior Pan Pacs. I made it to the 800m and 1500m freestyle finals and there was an option for 10km. I said no, but ended up doing it and haven't looked back.

What are your hobbies when you're not training/competing?

I love reading and listening to podcasts, especially the true crime genre.

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