Canadian Masters Swimmer Wins Masters Gold While Battling Cancer

by Willem Stoll 1

June 08th, 2023 Canada, Masters, News

Some people truly are superhuman. Amid her battle with breast cancer at the age of 72, Lina Courtois has taken home gold not only in pool swimming but also in artistic swimming.

The Quebec native competed in late May at the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships (SCM) in the 70-74 age group, where she took gold in the 100 butterfly in a time of 2:15.89, and the 400 individual medley in a time of 9:32.01. She also earned a second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke, and third-place finishes in the 50 butterfly, 100 IM, and 200 IM.

Courtois noted that she has been a lifelong swimmer and used to teach physical education. Therefore, athletics has always been a part of her life and acts as a new way to push her limits, even through chemotherapy.

As described by her coach, Sandrine Lemire, Courtois is a driven and high-work ethic athlete, who never misses practice, even after chemotherapy. Lemire pointed out to Courtois how incredible it is that she is not only swimming at all, but competing in races and artistic swimming. Evidently, all the hard work paid off, as Courtois achieved a tie for gold in the Solo-Tech final, and a silver medal finish in the Solo-Free final. This was her first artistic swimming competition.

Courtois’ husband, Serge St-Pierre, compared her to a machine, with how higher her energy level is, despite the energetically demanding practices for both types of competition, as well as chemotherapy.

St-Pierre acts as Courtois’ videographer, and helps her analyze her races while she is undergoing treatment. After helping his wife prepare for her competitions, St-Pierre was inspired to pick up swimming, and eventually ended up competing at the Masters Swimming Championships.

Courtois says she expects to keep competing throughout the summer even as her treatment increases, and she expects herself to adapt. She says that “next year, I will be even better.”

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