The latest event took place on Thursday 17th November at Newcastle University’s New Business School on Barrack Road. In support of Coco, Karen Pickering took to the stage and took us on an amazing 20 year career beginning at the young age of 5.

Winning 73 national and international swimming titles, she captivated her audience from the off explaining that if she stuck to training and kept working hard, she would gain a competitive edge over those around her. Despite nearly drowning during her first swimming lesson, and breaking her back in a car accident she went on to achieve two world records.

Regularly working with Rugby stars and future swimmers, Karen has been able to move past her one of the hardest struggles her career thrown at her … retirement. Comparing retirement to a grieving process, Karen emphasised the importance of a close support network and the knowledge of those around her.

Since retiring Karen has remained heavily involved in the sporting world as a radio commentator, Chair of Athletes commission and on the boards of both the English Institute of Sport and the British Olympic Association. She has also set up her own swim schools, and often reaches out to international athletes who are nearing their retirement, so they don’t have to go through what she went through.

The evening was a huge success with extensive Q & A’s which held comical anecdotes and motivational advice. Katrina Brownless, Cintra’s Marketing Manager commented, “This event has to be my favourite event held by the alumni so far. Karen’s speech was so motivational that I felt like taking a swim after! It has helped me reflect upon my own obstacles and how I should fight for what I want, and to never give up trying, no matter what comes my way. I am really looking forward to what speakers the alumni have to offer in 2012, as this will definitely be a hard one to beat!”.

Cintra continue to strengthen their relationship with Newcastle University by working closely together for a mutual benefit. We regularly support the Business School with sponsorship for their events and in turn we regularly use the training facilities at the university.


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