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Blog guest: Dr Jelena Kunovac M.D, M.S.

Being the world number one in 100m backstroke in masters swimming, globally known psychiatrist and a mum who is a record holder in swimming in Serbia is a completely different story! She is Dr Jelena Kunovac, one of the top 10 master female swimmers in the world ever. For Swimming Dad as a #Blog guest, Dr Kunovac speaks about how she has integrated swimming in her life in her 30s. This is her motivational swimming story for all the wives, mums, aunts, sisters.. to make them go and jump into the pool and swim! Swim your dreams, no matter how old you are. Why? Because life is more beautiful when you swim!

How to integrate swimming in your life, in your 30s?

My masters swimming story began after 30 plus years out of the water. Someone talked me into going to the first masters meet. I thought I would die on 50 backstroke - last 10 meters I was telling myself - never again. Until I saw my time. If I could swim this time after 30 years - I definitely could be much faster. And break a world record in a couple of years

Adding swimming practices to my daily routine took about 2 years. With businesses to run and weekly travels across US there was no choice but to significantly modify my lifestyle. From a night time person to an early morning person. The only way I can get a good workout was if I do it before the day starts.

What is your experience, your recommendation, where should one start – what is the right track to a successful master swimmer?

Little progress month by month. Some weeks I had 5 practices the others none. In 2017 I went to Worlds Masers Games. Placing second was the best motivation to keep figuring out how I can train better. At the end of 2017 I made it top 10 in the world (right there No 10) - I was sooo happy!

Last 2 years I added strength training to my routine and kept working on details - starts, turns and underwaters. I do not swim much but I like working on technical aspects of sprint events. Working on setting new goals and getting better is what makes me feel as there is no limit to what I can still accomplish.

Technique is the most important - I constantly work on improving efficiency of my strokes. Working with Gary Hall and Dr G, was essential in my training. When I was younger mental readiness was my weakest point. Visualizing my races and applying mindfulness helped me swim 5 races well at the latest Masters World Championship - which I have never accomplished before.

As the best master swimmer, being among the top 10 in the world, how much time do you have for swimming, considering your professional duties?

My training routine varies. As I travel extensively personally and professionally, it is not easy to found adequate training pools. Luckily gyms are everywhere - in addition to working on strength, I can get a great cardio workout anywhere in the world.

When at home (whatever that place is) I shoot to swim 6 days a week and lift weights 3 to 4 days a week. My practices are never longer than 3k. I do a lot of fast swimming with recovery consisted mostly of drills.

What is my next goal?

To be the best I can be. That should be pretty good. Hopefully the fastest ever any woman has been in 50 backstroke in my age group.


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