There's no stopping Lucienne Beyer. At 51, the Taupo swimming enthusiast will compete in her fourth State NZ Ocean Swim Series event - the State Capital Classic - on Sunday in Wellington, despite a recent operation to mend a broken collar bone.
Beyer was on a training ride in 2011 when a fellow cyclist lost her balance and knocked her off her bike. Told her broken collar bone would heal without surgery, Beyer did her best to maintain her fitness but was gutted she couldn't swim properly. She said it was a disappointing and frustrating time and, after months of no improvement, when she sought a second opinion the specialist immediately said she needed an operation to pin it back together.
Beyer had the operation last September, 10 months after the accident, and four weeks later she was back doing gentle training. After seven weeks, she did a half-ironman event. Now she's ready to compete in the 'I'm going long' 3.3km ocean swim.
"I always look forward to the State Capital Classic - Wellington is my favourite city, which is why I always choose to compete in this particular State NZ Ocean Swim. After a rough year, I am really looking forward to competing again this year and hope to better my time from 2012," she said.
"My son has just started swimming again too so I'm hoping I can convince him to join me, as he always states he can beat me hands down and I'd like to see him try."
Beyer said her collarbone is continuing to heal but her left arm is still a little weak.
"If you swim in the pool you can rest and take it a bit easier, but if I do a long stretch non-stop I can feel that it's not quite there yet."
Beyer said what she loves about open-water swimming is the freedom, the long distances and the fact that swimming in the ocean is a test.
"I enjoy that endurance aspect. I also like the atmosphere during this event and sometimes you end up meeting friends you haven't seen in a while."
Last weekend Beyer tackled the 5km State Epic Swim on Lake Taupo, which she completed in 1hr 48m, and said if she was back in Taupo in February, she'd tackle the 4.2km Cross Lake Swim from Acacia Bay to Three Mile Bay. While she likes ocean swimming she prefers to swim in Lake Taupo because the water tastes better.
"For me there's not much difference [between the lake and the sea], it's just the water that I swallow, I'd rather swallow the Taupo water than the sea water."
State NZ Ocean Swim Series event director Scott Rice says this series is all about giving it a go.
"We hope that the dedication shown by competitors like Lucienne will encourage other swimmers of all abilities to take part."