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Swim helps the health according to Maryvale gold medallist

A MASTER: After winning gold at the World Masters Games, Hanna Wassenaar is training for this year's FINA Masters Championships.
A MASTER: After winning gold at the World Masters Games, Hanna Wassenaar is training for this year's FINA Masters Championships. Gerard Walsh

SWIMMING: Maryvale swimmer and World Masters Games gold medallist Hanna Wassenaar puts her swimming success down to healthy habits.

She hasn't always had it easy but the medals have come in the past 15 years

Born in Indonesia, she spent her first three years in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp.

As a result of malnutrition diseases, mainly rickets, she didn't walk until the age of six. Then living in The Netherlands, her father took her to a pool every day to strengthen her legs.

Throughout her schooling in New Zealand, she maintained her love of swimming breaststroke but due to work and family commitments gave competitive swimming away and worked as a swimming instructor.

At age 60, she joined a masters swim club at the Gold Coast with a philosophy "fitness, friendship and fun”.

"That suited me,” she said. At the time she was diagnosed with osteoporosis.

"I checked out the pool situation before I moved to Maryvale 14 years ago and found out I could swim all year round at WIRAC,” she said.

She has competed in World Masters Games in Sydney, Melbourne, Torino (Italy) and Auckland and the FINA World Masters Championships in Perth. Wassenaar has won 15 medals at World Masters Games.

She recently returned home with 75-79 years gold in the 200m breaststroke, silver in 50m and 100m breaststroke and bronze in 50m freestyle from Auckland and won the same coloured medals at the nationals.

Her national performances qualified her for the FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August.

"I train two to three times a week at WIRAC and compete weekly in badminton at WIRAC. The jumping in badminton strengthens my bones which helps with the osteoporosis.

"I want to be the best I can be and am mindful diet, sleep and exercise are a total package for good health.”

She also believes organising trips online to major events and saving to cover the cost keeps the mind active.

Topics:  auckland maryvale swim swimming warwick wirac