Reflecting on her journey, Kobrich speaks of her love for swimming, her country, and her relentless pursuit of improvement as she prepares for her sixth Olympic Games in Paris 2024. 

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The 38-year-old swimmer from Chile has set a new record for appearances at the World Aquatics Championships.

Kristel Kobrich made history last summer in Fukuoka by surpassing the record for the most appearances by a swimmer at the World Aquatics Championships. She further solidified her position in Doha this year, making her 12th appearance at the championships and reaching the finals in the women’s 1500m freestyle on Tuesday night.

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Reflecting on her accomplishment, Kobrich expressed her dedication and love for the sport and her country. "I know it means something at this level for 20 years. It's a lot of work with my team, being resilient and persistent because I love what I do. I love competing for my country alongside the best swimmers," she shared with World Aquatics after the final.

Despite her success, Kobrich remains focused on improvement, acknowledging her disappointment with her performance time and her determination to analyze and enhance her preparation for the upcoming Olympics. "I am a little bit upset because of the time. It was a little bit slower than the prelim. Now I have to think about it. What did I do wrong? And what can I do to make things better before the Olympics? I know I should be very proud of myself," she added.

Kobrich's journey in the international stages began in 2003 at the age of 17 when she made her first appearance at the World Championships, and since then, she hasn't missed an elite competition. Her consistent presence at major world events, including every World Championships and Olympics over the past two decades, is a source of immense pride for her.

Image Source: Kristel Kobrich (L) poses with her medal in the Women's 1500m Freestyle podium at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Back home in Chile, Kobrich's achievements have been celebrated, particularly during the Pan American Games last year, where she served as an athlete ambassador and won a silver medal in her favorite event of 1500m freestyle. "It was very emotional to be there with my family. All the crowd, all the people were there for me, for the swimming, for the Chilean. The Pan American Games were significant for bringing our country together and promoting a change in the culture of sport in our country," she reflected.

Image Source: Kristel Kobrich racing the heats in the Women's 800m Freestyle at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Looking ahead, Kobrich is gearing up for her sixth Olympic Games in Paris 2024. Her drive to improve remains unwavering as she aims to learn from past mistakes and push herself to new heights. "It's a lot of work, but I have to make some changes to get better at the Olympics. I want to avoid repeating the same mistakes and will try to push all the time and make it better," she emphasized.

Kobrich's commitment extends beyond personal achievement; she sees herself as a beacon of inspiration for future generations of athletes. "I take the honor and responsibility to represent my country. I think that's very important to try to change and motivate the other generations,” she affirmed.

Chilean legend motivates the younger generations and drives positive change in the sporting culture of the country.