“I’m going to be in the newspapers.” This is what Sofia KTENA said to her mother, Maria, at the tender age of four, and was probably not lying.
The Finswimming World Champion stepped twice atop the podium in the II Mediterranean Beach Games, and has seen to it for years that her childhood statement is confirmed again and again.
Her mother knew how stubborn she was, kept those words in mind and waited. Then tiny Sofia plunged for the first time in the water of the Argonauts Nautical Club of Volos swimming pool, and the rest is history.
KTENA was a restless mind from a very young age, and wanted to be the best in everything. Her potential showed right from the start, and when she left classic Swimming to move to Finswimming she began piling up achievements at national level. Unfortunately, then she suffered a serious neck injury.
She didn’t give up, though, although just about everyone thought she was finished. Two years of hard work later, she returned strong to the pool and picked up where she had left off on the way to the top.
The Greek champion managed to combine top-level competition with studies, securing her admission to the Athens University School of Physical Edycation and Sports. This is what she had always wanted to do, and upon graduation she went on to also complete Medical School studies, benefiting from the right to move to another school thanks to her international sports achievements.
Tuesday, August 27th, 2019. The II Mediterranean Beach Games first day of Finswimming competition, at the “Antionios Pepanos” Aquatic Center.
Maria KTENA is waiting for her daughter to come down from her room to the hotel lobby, in order to leave for the venue together with the rest of the Greek Finswimming team.
She hugs her, kisses her, bends and whispers something in her ear.
“My mother is my lucky charm,” Sofia reveals. “Every time, before competition, I ask her to chase evil spirits away and give me her blessing. This dates from when I was very young, and never changes. Even when I compete abroad, I call her to chase evil spirits away and give me her blessing.”