On the road to Tokyo: Breaststroke record breaker, Jenna Laukkanen

Jenna, originally from Sotkamo, already began her success story at a young age. At the 2009 Finnish Championship, at only 14-years old, she won silver in the 100 metre breaststroke youth series and bronze in the adult series. That same year, she won her first international medal at the European Youth Olympic Festival by finishing second in both the 100 and 200 metre distances.

There are two different classes in swimming on European and World Championship level: the long course on a 50-metre track and the short course on a 25-metre track. Jenna has been particularly successful in short course competitions. In 2015, Jenna reached her best results to date by winning gold medals in both the 50 metre and 100 metre short course competitions. She also won European Championship medals in the following two years.

Road to Tokyo: Jenna Laukkanen

The 2018 to 2019 season was a tough one, and swimming was difficult despite hard training. Jenna reminded herself that training well doesn’t mean the same as training a lot, and that it is important to stay sensible and patient. It is also important to take breaks from training - this is where friends and family play an important part.

Once these principles were implemented, training began to be more pleasant, which also reflected positively on Jenna’s condition: in the 2019 European Championship short course competition she once again reached the podium.  As Jenna has said, success rarely teaches you something and it is the failures that help you grow the most.

In 2019, as a change from competitive swimming focusing on individual performance, Jenna took part in the new International Swimming League (ISL) as the only Finn. In the league, you don’t only swim as an individual as the results of the events add to the total points of the team. Through this new format, Jenna wants to avoid becoming set in her ways and gain new perspective on the sport.

In the ISL, Jenna swims in Team Iron, which is captained by the Hungarian Katinka Hosszú, a three-time Olympic champion. Collaborating with world-class swimmers and Olympic medallists is ideal for providing inspiration and motivation for the future.

The next big challenge is already clear: the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. In order to be able to compete in Tokyo, swimmers must meet certain qualifying time requirements by the beginning of July. Jenna’s goal is to earn her place on the Olympic team at the long course European Championship held in Budapest this May.

Even though competition is hard on an international level and Olympic swimming is only done on the long track, Jenna already fought her way to swim in the two previous Summer Olympics. In 2016 in Rio, she swam incredible Finnish record times in 100 and 200 metre breaststrokes. Only time will tell what achievements the future holds!

Road to Tokyo: Jenna Laukkanen

#Icepeak #RoadToTokyo2020 #TestedByTopAthletes