Marlène Dubois has been a fan of swimming her whole life. She started taking classes when she was 5 years old. Her first tries weren’t very successful, and she even failed her classes, but her parents pushed her to keep going. Her perseverance allowed her to succeed, and after her classes with the Red Cross, she joined the Ouananiche d’Arvida swim team, in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, to be with her sister, Diane, who was already on the team.
Marlène spent her teenage years in the pool. She then worked as a coach and a lifeguard before taking 5 years off, in which she completed her studies. After her studies, she moved to Québec City and joined the Club des maîtres nageurs de Sainte-Foy as a way to meet new people. She’s now swimming with Les Riverains de Lévis, and has been for over 25 years. While there’s no doubt that Marlène enjoys being active, she has never tried another sport on a regular basis—she stays loyal to her first love, swimming. She trains 2 to 4 times a week, depending on the season and upcoming meets. She loves going to swim meets for the feeling of pride when she knows she’s pushed her physical limits, as well as to meet new people. She’s a true social butterfly and likes to cheer for everyone, no matter what team they’re on.
Last summer, Marlène went to Worlds in Budapest. In 2014, she had the chance to go to Worlds in Montreal, and she liked it so much that she started saving money right away to go again next time. She convinced 3 other swimmers to go with her. They were all accompanied by their spouses, and the group lived the experience to its fullest. When they weren’t in one of the many beautiful pools found in Budapest, they were exploring the surrounding area. The weather was nice, locals were very welcoming, and despite not performing as well as she would have liked, Marlène says the experience if one of her favourite swimming memories.
Outside of the pool, her life still revolves around swimming. Her husband of nearly 30 years can’t swim, but their 2 daughters were in a swimming program in high school. One of them even worked as a coach for 5 years. Marlène recently took her lifeguard classes again in Québec City, and one of her retirement project is to start a physical rehabilitation program in a pool.
After all these years, Marlène is still impressed and inspired by what she sees at the pool every day. She respects and admires her coach of many years, Yvon Rivet. She’s also inspired by her teammates, like Denis Saunier, who learned to swim when he was 40. He’s now swimming in the 70-74 category, and during Worlds in Montreal, he ranked in the top 10 in a few events. She even says, half-jokingly, “When I grow up I’ll be like Denis!” No matter what she thinks, many would rather say, “When I grow up I’ll be like Marlène!”
Marlène with a swimmer from New-Zealand during Worlds in 2014
Do you or anyone you know have a swimming story to share? New swimmers, veterans, competitive or recreational swimmers, send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe you’ll see it featured on this blog in the next few weeks!