24 km through the flow at the Arctic Circle

Christiane Riefler, Managing Director of Memmert, took part in the "Alamäkiunti" Downhill Swim in the north of Finland together with her daughter and shows that fun, adventure, and successful business management do not get in each other’s way.

"Currently, I try to make sure I get into the swimming pond at least twice a week," says the mother of three while preparing for the next swimming session. She probably can't find better conditions than on her own company premises, as the company's own fire pond is available for all employees to use for swimming and recreation at any time.

"For me, however, it’s more of a balance, I don't do it for performance reasons," she says. For her adventure in Finland, she relied on her stamina and basic endurance. Swimming 24 kilometers down the river in 17 degree cold water, together with her daughter Laura as a team. "It took us a little more than seven hours, but the time was secondary for us," she says. Because the adventure and experience were paramount.

"The untouched Finnish nature, the crystal clear water, now and then seeing a reindeer at the edge of the forest, that was already unique and really great." But always following the water flow sounds much easier than it is. "We were always looking for the strongest flow, sometimes the river gets really narrow, sometimes it's quite wide, then always finding the strongest flow and using it efficiently is not so easy. We had to pass several checkpoints along the way and eat well to compensate for the high calorie consumption," says Christiane Riefler.

Her coach Bennie Lindberg, a native of Finland and himself a participant in the Downhill Swim, gave her the idea: "I had such wonderful experiences there too, I recommended it to Christiane and she was immediately interested," he says. Her husband Matthias Grosser provided support throughout the long day.

Once they reached the finish line, mother and daughter were still enjoying the euphoric atmosphere together with the other 100 two-person teams taking part. "It was really a great experience and a real adventure. We were quite cold by then, though, and the warm shower was rarely such a satisfaction."