Kenna Papadopoulos is my swimspiration!

Kenna joined Winskill Otters Masters Swim Club about 15 years ago; she says that back then she could hardly swim 25 meters. Today, she competes in the 70-74 age group, in swims of anywhere from 25 meters to 400 meters. She is a keen competitor and is nothing short of amazing, swimming at better-than-worlds qualifying standards in her age group. I can only dream of being even half as active and successful as Kenna, but she has shown me that not only is it never too late to swim, it is also never too late to compete.

Kenna hardly misses practice. She always encourages our lanemates to watch the pace clock and to keep on track during sets. When she sees me gasping for air at the end of a set, Kenna always reminds me to breathe properly. Breathing properly enables me to swim longer distances – like Kenna, I was unable to swim 25 meters when I returned to swimming in 2010, after a 40-year break.

Swimmers in our practice lane range from ages 24 to 73 – although Kenna is the oldest, she is definitely not the slowest! With Kenna in our lane, she is the epitome of grace and poise in swimming, maintains a good pace and more often than not, leads the sets, especially the pull sets – she is our “Pull Queen” – and she does all this with a pleasant and cheerful disposition.

Kenna never whines nor complains, her work ethic is positive, and she is always focused, no matter how hard or complicated a set may be – I am most fortunate to be able to learn from her and to follow her lead.

Socially, no Winskill Otter function is ever complete without Kenna – and her “appies” are to die for – just ask any Winskill Otter about her mouth-watering spanakopitas and mousakas, etc. etc. etc.! Functions are usually held on Saturday evenings, but timing never affects Kenna – she always turns up for practice bright and early on Sunday morning, totally awake and ready to rock the practice! If that’s not sheer dedication, I don’t know what is!

It is indeed my honour to be swimming in the same practice lane as Kenna because she is so very much more than just my lanemate – she is my swimspiration!!!!!

– Submitted by Fernanda Ho

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