This Q&A was with Dragon Boat World Athlete, Josefine Jönsson, National Athlete – Swedish National Dragon Boat Team.
DRAGON BOAT WORLD ATHLETE PROFILE
NAME: Josefine Jönsson
BIRTHPLACE: Lund, Sweden
TRAINING COMMITMENT: Full-time
PADDLING SIDE: Left and Right
STATUS: In a Relationship
ECA European Championships 2015, Auronzo di Cadore
Guld – 20manna, Mixed, 200m; Brons – 20manna, Mixed, 500m, 2000m; Silver – 20manna, Women, 500M; Brons – 10manna, Women, 200m, 200m; Brons – 10manna, Mixed, 2000m
ICF World Dragon Boat Racing Championship 2014, Poznan
Silver – 10manna, Women 500m, 2000m; Brons – 20manna, Mixed, 500m
IDBF World Dragonboat Racing Championship 2013, Szeged
Silver – 20manna, U24 Mixed, 1000m; Brons – 20manna, U24 Mixed, 500m
Swedish Nationals 2015, Nyköping
Guld –10manna mix 200m; Silver – 10manna mix 500m
Swedish Nationals 2014, Jönköping
Guld – 10manna, Mixed, 200m, 500m
Our Dragon Boat World Athlete from Sweden, Josefine Jönsson, has already won numerous Swedish Nationals in Swimming before she started competing in Dragon Boat races. Josefine studied in the University of Gothenburg to become a health promoter and nutritionist. She pursued to take up Entrepreneurship in hopes of starting her own business one day.
“Before I started paddling I considered myself as a good swim athlete. I train hard to fulfil my dream of representing Sweden in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, recurring sickness and injuries kept my dream of becoming a professional swimmer to come into reality.”, Josefine recalled.
Though there were some obstructions in her sporting career in the past and it even came to a point where she lost her motivation–all her passions faded. Voila! Three years later, she has regained it all back when a friend and fellow swimmer introduced her to Dragon Boat. It was with the Malmö KK when she first started.
Because of her early experience in elite swimming and her hard work of learning the sport, it did not take long until she joined the National Team. Her first world championship was in 2013 and that was where she won her first U24 medal. She’s now part of KK Eskimå and she’s been paddling with them for three years now.
“Today I have found love for Dragon Boat and a couple of other sports, such as: Boxing, Running, Crossfit, Outrigger Canoeing and Skiing. I enjoy training a lot and I constantly strive to become stronger and better.”, she shared with gusto.
Q: Being in the National team is a tough responsibility, what/who keeps you going?
A: My teammates and the fun experience that we share together. We really support each other and try to help each other as much as possible. We sing and dance at our training camps to make it a more fun environment. My love for the sport motivates me to train hard and set big goals. I want to be a world champion, and hopefully one day I could participate in the Olympic Games, competing in Dragon Boat racing.
Q: How intense does your training go, say, two or three months before the race? Does your team stay in a training camp for a certain period of time before the race? Please share to us something about it and what do you think are its benefits?
We increase our paddling training together as a team. Our training schedule remains fairly consistent: We paddle 1-2 days a week, then we run, go to the gym and do other exercises together. We also do a lot of fitness tests both in cardio and in strength. We have 3 training camps from April to July. We make sure that we arrive at the race venue a couple of days before the competition to get acquainted with the boats and to get a feel of the atmosphere at the competition site. Testing out the boats prior to the competition is very important to us because different countries may sometimes use a different kind of dragon boat on a particular kind of race.
Q: What is an effective formula for having or maintaining a ‘solid crew’ in the team?
A: Trust, support, chemistry and having the element of fun in the team. Then, of course, a lot of training together as a team, so that everyone can keep up on the same pace.
Q: Having intensively trained with the Swedish National Team went for several international races, what do you admire most about your fellow athletes?
A: I admire their fighting drive, their high spirits, and the positive mindset to always support each other and help each other with our weaknesses.
Q: Was there a time when you thought of quitting the team? If yes, would you like to share to us the reason why? What was your motivating factor which encouraged you to continue on?
A: I considered leaving the team at one point because it is an expensive sport. Frankly, we need more support from sponsors; and it’s very difficult to get them on board. Simply because it (dragon boat) is still a very small sport here in Sweden. The love I have for the sport and my amazing teammates made me keep on going.
Q: Aside from your family and teammates who are together with you on this journey (dragon boating life), is there anyone else that you want to send a message of thanks?
A: I want to thank my boyfriend who supports me no matter what. My best friend, Ida, who always gives me good advice, keeps my hopes up and keeps me laughing.
Q: Outside the dragon boating world, who is the athlete that you admire most and why?
A: Michael Phelps, because he is the best athlete in the world and he has accomplished what people told him was impossible.