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Kareena LEE
Sport Open Water Swimming
NOC Australia   
Born16 Dec 1993
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Partner Callum
Noosa, QLD, AUS
Higher education
Education - University of the Sunshine Coast: Australia
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She took part in surf lifesaving as a child, and began focusing on swimming training in 2011. "I didn't concentrate on swimming until I was 17, so [surf lifesaving] was my main sport."
Why this sport?
"I did my first open water swim in 2012 when I was 18. From then I just wanted to try it again and gain more experience and I think I've gotten better with each time."
Club / Team
Noosa Swimming Club: Australia
Name of coach
John Rodgers [club]
General Interest
Reading, shopping. (swimming.org.au, 17 Dec 2019)
She suffered an injury to her right knee in January 2018 that required her to wear a brace. She returned to competition three weeks later. (Instagram profile, 26 Jan 2018)

She broke a rib after she was kicked when racing at the 2015 World Cup event in Chun'an, People's Republic of China. (openwaterswimming.com, 10 Mar 2021)

She collapsed following the women's 10km race at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russian Federation, due to a combination of asthma, dehydration and hypothermia. She was briefly hospitalised and withdrew from her remaining race at the championships, but made a full recovery. (smh.com.au, 30 Jul 2015)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"When someone says you can't do it, do it twice and take a picture." (noosatoday.com.au, 30 Jan 2020)
Awards and honours
She was named an Honouree of the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in the Class of 2020/21. (openwaterswimming.com, 10 Mar 2021)

In 2018 and 2019 she was named Swimming Australia's Open Water Swimmer of the Year. (hansonmediagroup.com.au, 28 Oct 2018; smh.com.au, 25 Nov 2019)
Other sports
She has also competed in pool swimming at national level in Australia, including in the 1500m freestyle. (myswimresults.com.au, 15 Aug 2018)
She became the first athlete representing Australia to win a medal in open water swimming at the Olympic Games when she claimed bronze in the women's 10km event at the 2020 Games in Tokyo. (SportsDeskOnline, 04 Jan 2022; swimming.org.au, 04 Aug 2021; smh.com.au, 04 Aug 2021)
Other information
After being overlooked for selection for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro she considered retiring from competition. However, after being selected for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, she went on to win bronze in the 10km event at the Games. "After just missing out on Rio I wasn't too sure if I was going to continue the sport. I had a bit of a break and a long think about it, and I knew I wouldn't be happy within myself if I left the sport. My heart was still in it and I really didn't want to leave on a low, so I knuckled down and I trained very, very hard. I'm obviously really happy I didn't leave. My first Olympics. Coming away with a medal, I'm so stoked, it's unbelievable." (7news.com.au, 04 Aug 2021; sls.com.au, 16 Oct 2019)

She graduated from the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in primary education, intending to pursue a career as a teacher once she retires from swimming. "I didn't really put too much thought into what I actually wanted to do so I just kind of thought sport and exercise science, but I realised that wasn't really the path for me. Whilst I was studying, I was also helping out at my swim club and I was doing a bit of learn to swim teaching as well and I kind of felt a passion around teaching and helping out kids and everything. That's kind of where it started and then studying it and doing pracs, I fell in love with it. After I finish swimming, I just want to dive into the classroom and start teaching - having my own class, that would be so awesome. I think it's really important because we're stuck in this big routine when we're a swimmer and then suddenly it's gone. It's so important to have something to fall back on and another passion to follow and that's what I did." (thewest.com.au, 04 Aug 2021; swimming.org.au, 17 May 2021; Instagram profile, 11 Apr 2019)

 Competition Highlights
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
7 2019 Gwangju, KOR 10km 1:54:50.5
5 2019 Gwangju, KOR 5km - Team Relay 54:36.8
10 2017 Budapest, HUN 5km 59:28.9
19 2017 Budapest, HUN 10km 2:02:08.1
4 2017 Budapest, HUN 5km - Team Relay 54:42.9
20 2015 Kazan, RUS 10km 1:59:32.8
World Series
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2022 Paris, FRA 10km 2:00:37.52
  2020   10km  
7 2020 Doha, QAT 10km 1:56:43.9
6 2019   10km  
6 2019 Beau Vallon, SEY 10km 2:01:55.70
2 2019 Doha, QAT 10km 2:03:52.0
4 2019 Nantou, TPE 10km 2:02:40.3
13 2018   10km  
5 2018 Balatonfüred, HUN 10km 2:05:57.00
13 2018 Doha, QAT 10km 2:02:34.3
3 2018 Setúbal, POR 10km 2:05:22.25
59 2017   10km  
11 2017 Abu Dhabi, UAE 10km 1:53:11.3
13 2016 Abu Dhabi, UAE 10km 1:58:57.70
14 2015 San Miguel de Cozumel, MEX 10km 1:48:42.00
5 2014 Qiandaohu, CHN 10km 2:06:18.16
14 2014 Setúbal, POR 10km 2:05:48.0
Pan Pacific Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
2 2018 Tokyo, JPN 10km 2:08:26.0
4 2014 Maui, HI, USA 10km 1:59:56.0