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All Hail The Queen Of Swimrun: A Chat With Desirée Andersson

Desirée Andersson is one of the all-time great swimrunners. In 2022 alone, she racked up a staggering 13 wins. Known affectionately as ‘Queen D’, Desirée discovered swimrun by accident in 2014 at Ångaloppet, Sweden when a friend asked her to do the swimrun race. At 22 km, it was the longest run Desirée had ever done. We are delighted to share some insights and reflections from the Queen of Swimrun.

(Also see Desirée’s Race Tips and Gear Choices ahead of ÖTILLÖ, The Swimrun World Championship on our YouTube channel here)

Desirée’s ‘game face’

How would you describe what it feels like to be in the swimrun community?

It’s an amazing community, welcoming and including. So many people with different cool backgrounds and people of all ages. I have found so many friends in this community, people to do racing and training together with but also to explore the world and go on adventures with.

Desirée (second left) at EXSwimrun.

Do you have any rituals or routines pre-race?

I actually try to not have and the ones I had and brought from my swimming career I’ve tried to get rid of. Because I don’t want to feel dependent on them or feel stressed if something is not possible to do.

But it’s one thing I always do, I give my partner a small kick in the butt, called Lyckospark (meaning good luck kick) I do it with my knee

What do you think about when you are racing over a long distance?

It’s a lot of things going on in my mind, a constant fight to boost myself mentally and try to get rid of the negative thoughts that appear. The good thing with swimrun is that you’re not alone. In my opinion, to cheer your teammate on is also a way to cheer on yourself.

But I also divide the distance in pieces, it’s a way to make it go faster mentally for me, first you have only done 1/10 but quite fast you have already done 1/3. I use that mental strategy in both training and racing.

Desirée set a new course record with partner Alexander Berggren racing down the 75km ÖTILLÖ World Championship course in 2022.

What would you say to someone who is new to the sport?

Just try it and I can promise that the distance won’t feel as long as if it was only running or swimming. Switching between makes it both going faster and being more fun 🙂 so don’t be afraid of the distance, see it as an adventure together with a friend!

Fanny Kuhn (Left) & Desirée (right)

And how about for someone who is more experienced?

Try a new race you haven’t done before at an exciting location to not lose the adventures part of the sport.

Favourite piece of kit?

Paddles! To be honest I like the freedom of going with less equipment on a summer day but paddles would be my favourite if I have to choose. And not too big paddles, I’ve always used the same size!

Who would be your dream celebrity swimrun partner for the day?

This is a hard one, so many that would be cool to race with but I’m waiting for the pro triathlete Lisa Nordén to finally agree to do a race with me so it has to be her!

Your best and worst moments in swimrun?

My worst moment has to be when I got stomach issues at the ÖTILLÖ World Championships in 2021. And the best…It’s very hard to choose one, I have so many good moments in swimrun that will be with me forever.

Fred Newton

Fred is the Editor and co-founder of swimrun.com. He has actively been involved with the sport of swimrun as an enthusiastic participant, race director, volunteer and journalist.

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