We had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing Olympic athlete Kareena Lee!
- Where did you grow up? The central Coast of NSW before moving to the Sunshine Coast when I was 14.
- How many siblings do you have? I have 4 older brothers
- How did you start swimming? We had a backyard pool so I have been around the water from a very young age. My youngest brother also swam and I just wanted to beat him.
- How did you get into open water swimming? I did both pool swimming and Surf life saving growing up while also competing in the odd ocean swim. But my first 10km was something that was sprung on me after making my first Australian Junior team in the 800 and 1500m freestyle in the pool. I was also entered in the 10km open water swim.
- What made you want to pursue the sport? My curiosity. It was so new and so interesting. It was a race of tactics and it wasn’t always necessarily the fastest swimmer who won. Plus open water swims are done in some absolutely magical places!
- Who has been your biggest inspiration? Susie oneil was my idol growing up. Watching her made my Olympic dream start.
- What is a quote / mantra / mentality you live by? If they say you can’t do it, do it twice and take pictures.
- What do you think gives you an edge? I ask questions and take on as much advice as I possibly can. I am a very disciplined person and I will do whatever it takes.
- Are you a highly routine person? Yes highly! I love planning my days and keeping to a schedule.
- Have you seen many sharks out swimming? I have a great fear of sharks! I have never seen one in a race but I have come across a few whilst training in the ocean.
- What does a day in the life look like for you? 4.26am wake up to start a 2hour swim session. I will either do a 1hr gym session or yoga class straight after morning training. Then I will come home and walk the dogs and then sit down to do some study before either heading back to the pool or jumping on my bike.
- How many years do you think it takes to get to the elite level? That is a question that will vary. I feel that I was quite a late bloomer. I made my first Junior team at 18 and my first senior team at 20, I didn’t get to the Olympics until I was 27. For me it was quite a long process.
- What tips would you give a younger athlete? Work hard, have fun, Be patient, trust your coach, the results will come!
- What are you favourite premax products? I love the shampoo and conditioner, it is literally the only products that make my hair feel great after being in the chlorine and they also eliminate the chlorine smell from your hair which is an added bonus! I also love the recovery cream. Not only does it moisturiser, but it helps recover sore muscles. I use it in between sessions.
- What was your olympic experience like? I had nothing to compare it to so I thought it was amazing. I love how the Olympics brings everyone together! I just had soo much fun doing what I love.
- What is the longest distance you have ever swam? 10km is the longest race but I have done a 15km training session.
- What’s next for you? I have decided to retire from professional swimming but you will still see me keeping active! I will still be in the pool training 5 times a week and competing in the odd ocean swim. But I would love to start my Career in Athlete Wellbeing and give back to the sport I love!
Thanks for sharing your story Kareena! We wish you all the best for the next chapter! 👊🏽