A Dundee powerlifter is hanging up her weights for a year to focus on helping people into business — but not before breaking some world records.
Kara Swankie has helped found the recently launched Circle Academy — a 12-week training programme which will offer the skills needed to start a business.
But her life outwith work has been no less intense as she has been competing in powerlifting competitions for the past five years.
Her successes have included bringing home four gold medals from the 2017 Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in South Africa.
But she has decided to take a year out of competitive lifting to fully concentrate on the Circle Academy initiative.
Kara’s last weekend before retiring was one to remember — she broke three world records in her field at the British Powerlifting Championship, which took place in Elysium, Edinburgh on July 20.
She said: “I pushed myself to win but to break world records was a fantastic way to retire for a year.
“It was a pretty successful closure to five years of back-to-back competition.
“I’ll definitely be going back to powerlifting after taking this year out, but for now I want to concentrate on the Circle Academy.”
The records Kara broke at the competition were dead lift and squat lift, as well as total lift — the combined weight in both categories.
Kara lifted 150kg for the squat, 200kg in the deadlift and her total lift — which included a bench lift — was a record-breaking 430kg.
“It was an absolutely great feeling to comfortably extend the world records and an unexpected surprise,” Kara added.
The year away from competitive powerlifting will be a packed one for Kara as not only will she be focusing on Academy — she’ll be getting married too.
At just 23-years old, Kara has already two businesses under her belt: Swankie Jo’s gift shop and Dundee Strength Unit, both of which she has subsequently sold. Dundee Strength Unit is still in operation.
Kara added: “At the Academy, we are people who have been through it all that are giving advice, so we ca practise what we preach.”
Kara will continue powerlifting training through her time away from the competitive circuit, but “with different priorities”.
The Circle Academy is a 12-week intensive, practical and educational training programme.
It will provide the tools and building blocks to start, launch and grow an organisation and a resource bank of information and mentors to provide ongoing support and guidance.
Kara added: “The Circle Academy programme is long overdue not only in the third sector but across all organisations.
“Learning practical, realistic skills which will make you more enterprising and forward-thinking, will be invaluable to help your organisation grow.”
At the end of the 12-week intensive programme, successful candidates will be offered the opportunity to attend a monthly meeting where they will receive advice and support from the Circle Academy team at no cost for a further nine months.
The Circle will also offer co-working space.