Posted on Friday 2nd August, 2019

Karina Horton – For the Love of Swimming

How did you first become involved with swimming?

I grew up in Mt Isa so my first swimming lessons were in the local pool there. I joined Mt Isa Swim Club and spent several years training with Richard Hager (ex Albany Creek member) and Mark Erikson (Whitsundays coach and swimmer). One of our first coaches was Bill Sweetenham who began his coaching career with us as his squad. A major memory from that time was the week-long mile butterfly warm up we had to do if anyone mucked around during the week’s training. Fortunately those days are long gone.

What do you love about swimming?

I love the freedom of swimming – I can swim by myself or with a group/club; there are many different events to participate in, whether in a pool or open water; the enjoyment that comes when a swim is completed and I’ve done my best; the variety of people I meet who all have a love of swimming.

When did you first join Masters Swimming?

I joined masters swimming in 2007. I had gone to Albany Creek pool on a Sunday morning in early September to check out the masters squad and have a swim with them. As I left the pool, Julie B and Jan W persuaded me to join the club immediately so I could then swim in a club relay team at the states up at Noosa (25m pool) in October. My registration just made the cut off time. On the day itself, we were enthusiastic about doing well in the relay but unfortunately, the meet ran very late and a couple of relay members had to leave before our swim.

Most memorable swimming moment?

My most memorable swimming moment would be swimming 50m for the first time. I was 5 years old and I remember the swim instructor and my mother encouraging me as I swam the entire 50 yard length in one go. I can remember feeling exhausted but happy, especially as I was allowed a packet of chips as a treat.

Favourite events?

Any event and stroke where I can breathe regularly.

How often do you swim, and where?

My swimming is erratic as one of my pools closes during the winter, and another squad I swim with caters mainly for long distance freestyle swimmers. I swim where there are coaches who cater for form stroke swimmers, and where there are pools with heating and showers.

What motivates and inspires you?

Inspiration and motivation comes from watching and interacting with those who have difficulties to overcome but still achieve their dreams.

Have you had setbacks to overcome?

I had to stop swimming in May 2016 as I had shoulder problems. I spent six months going through the physio and cortisone treatment routine before major shoulder surgery late in 2016. I was out of the pool until late 2017 when I was allowed to kick holding the board with only one arm. Normal swimming with both arms started in early 2018 and it’s been a long haul to get some fitness back. I continue to have problems with asthma, particularly in indoor pools where I struggle to breathe and swim. Unfortunately not much can be done about this except to avoid indoor pools. This year, I have had major medical problems in my immediate family and swimming has taken a back seat to those.

Favourite things? Likes and dislikes?

Likes: Swimming, sleeping, reading, travelling involving swimming, meeting other people who enjoy swimming, spoiling my granddaughter, family time.

Dislikes: cooking, cleaning, sewing, shopping, asthma affecting my swimming

What upcoming events are you swimming in?

Nothing planned for the remainder of 2019 as we wait for all medical problems to disappear.

Philosophy on life? Favourite saying?

‘Life is short, make the most of it’. Make the time to do what you want to do as we only have one life.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of becoming a Masters swimmer?

Join up! Swimming is the best exercise there is. Masters swimming is full of wonderful people who encourage and support you. It allows you to become fit and healthy, meet new people, gain confidence, achieve things you didn’t think you could achieve, and to travel if you want to.

Karina swimming open water