PROPELLER: UQ Gatton student Lina Walker competed at the CMAS Finswimming World Cup Masters in Majorca, Spain.
PROPELLER: UQ Gatton student Lina Walker competed at the CMAS Finswimming World Cup Masters in Majorca, Spain. Lachlan McIvor

Student surges through water like a mermaid

MONOFIN SWIMMING: UQ Gatton students heading to the pool on campus for a dip might often mistake the figure regularly surging through the water as that of a mermaid.

But it is just Lina Walker, 29, training for monofin swimming events.

With a giant fin on their feet, swimmers extend their arms forward and lock their hands together, keeping their head down and kicking with their legs.

Basically, it is butterfly stroke but without the use of the arms and a large flipper propelling them forward.

"It does get the conversation started," Walker laughed.

"People go 'what on earth is that, how do you do that?' I basically use the mermaid explanation, it's the easiest way."

Walker, a wildlife science student at the university, got into the sport five years ago after a friend suggested it as a good way to get fit.

This year she represented Australia at the CMAS Finswimming World Cup Masters in Majorca, Spain, for the first time.

She picked up two fourth place finishes in the 100m and 200m events in the 25-35 years category.

Australia ended the titles 7th overall from the more than 40 countries competing.

 

Lina Walker.
Lina Walker. Lachlan McIvor

It was an exciting experience for her to rub shoulders with some of the world's best but what stood out most was the sportsmanship shared by rival swimmers.

"It was quite daunting, to be honest, seeing all these people that were really focussed... but everyone was willing to help everyone else," she said.

Monofin swimming might be something many people have never heard of before but Walker, originally from Colombia, said she became hooked as soon as she started.

"It's really good fun, anyone can do it as long as you know how to swim," she said.

"If you're into something fast, it's a sport you will enjoy.

"It's not the same as normal swimming. You do a couple of kicks and go super fast. In 12 kicks you're on the other side of the pool."


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