Olympic hopeful cheered on her way

Ross Fisher, Kareena Lee and Dawn Fraser.

By Margaret Maccoll

Noosa Heads Surf Club is rallying to give Olympic hopeful Kareena Lee a warm send off on Sunday before she makes her way to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to compete in the Women’s 10km Open ocean swim event.

A shining light in open water events, Kareena was the first Australian swimmer to qualify for the Olympics in 2019 after she placed 7th in the Women’s 10km event at the 2019 World Championships.

Lee made a blistering start to her 2019 season. After claiming silver medals in the Women’s 10km Open events at the past two Australian Open Water Championships, Lee beat her friend and fierce competitor Chelsea Gubecka to take home the top honour in 2019. Carrying the momentum into her next event, the long-distance swimmer won the Midmar Mile – once known as the world’s largest open water event – in South Africa a few weeks later.

A silver Pan Pacs medallist, Lee is based in Noosa and trains alongside fellow open water swimmer Nick Sloman, who narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympics in 2019 but has a second chance at qualification this weekend.Nick is also hoping to make a splash at the Olympics and will be competing in Portugal on Sunday in his bid to qualify for the Mens 10km Open ocean swim event.

Surf club president Ross Fisher said one local club member Kareena and perhaps two club members, should Nick qualify, in the Olympics was “a big deal“ and the club was keen to support them.

“It’s a big achievement to have a Noosa person to compete in the Olympics,“ Ross said. “We’re having something to raise a few dollars for them to take to the Games.“

The club has organised a fundraiser/ farewell event on Sunday from 2.30pm at the clubhouse.

Olympic boxer Benny Pike will MC the event and Olympian Dawn Fraser will be a guest. The community is invited to attend.

There will be auctions and raffles.