Submitted. The swimmers that represent the City of Abbotsford from the Olympians Swim Club, have been busy over the Fall and Winter training, competing and learning about what their social responsibilities are.
James Lee in the racing finals of the 200 Fly at the AAA championships in Kamloops. Picture courtesy of Olympians Swim Club.
The swimmers, who have been training extremely hard over the last year and half, learning what it is to be an athlete, learning what it is going to take to be successful in their sport, learning how to be good student-athletes and good citizens, are learning and living new challenges in all of these categories every day. The staff are going out of their way to challenge them physically, mentally and helping learn that they are capable of far more than they are believe they are; The swimmers have come to expect a “figure it out response” when facing challenges, coupled with the right amount of assistance and encouragement, teaching them that in this sport as in all other aspects of life, no one is going to do it for them, they own their successes and their failures. From this, the hardest part to learn for some is to not be afraid of failure, not attaining a goal, the first time it is attempted is not a reflection on them, and is not an indication of their abilities, hard goals, take hard work, so they are learning. The result of all this? More resilient, more capable, more confident human beings.
On their social responsibilities, the swimmers, help out with needy families during the holiday season, take part in the Run for Water, to bring awareness to a worthy cause and contribute as they can. They are being asked to be better human beings every day just by lending a helping hand to where ever they can to whoever needs it. Not only because it is the right thing to do, more specifically to their sport, better people, make better athletes. Looking to bring more awareness to their sport, the club is hosting a free swim lesson weekend, April 25 & 26 at the Matsqui Recreation Center, open to youngsters that are keen in seeing what the sport is about, for more information, anyone interested should call 604-825-1856, or visit the Abbotsford Olympians web site at www.abbotsfordolympians.com.
Carrying on the idea of improving the community, many parents and coaches from the swim club, along with representatives from Twisters Gymnastics are in the research phase of a project that will look to bring a Multi-Plex training and hosting facility to the Abbotsford area within the next 2 years. The project, in its conceptual form will house an Olympic size swimming pool, a competitive gymnastic area, an indoor track, and indoor badminton, tennis, basketball & soccer courts, with office & retail space. The group has taken the initiative on this project and is seeking support from Tourism Abbotsford, Sport Abbotsford, local, Provincial and Federal governments as well as the private sector. The group hopes to have a first draft business case publicized by May and better assessment of feasibility by then.
To date this year, the swimmers representing the swim club, had great success at all the levels of Provincial competitions. 4 Abbotsford Olympians competed in Chilliwack at the AA championships, the second tier of provincial swimming championships. There, Mckenna Postles & Maddie Charest were both club record breakers. Both qualified their AAA time standard, McKenna in the 400 Freestyle and Maddie in the 200 breaststroke. Mckenna also earned the bronze medal in the 400 Freestyle. Ilya Taranenko, was a first time finalist in the 100 freestyle and posted several other great times. Katie Charest had a solid weekend as well, putting together several best times.
Prior to that, 8 swimmers competed at the 3rd provincial tier championship in Richmond, the Lower Mainland Regional Championships. There, Ilya Taranenko AA 100 Freestyle & Winner, qualified for AA champs. Katie Charest AA 100 Freestyle & 3rd place, qualified for AA champs, Brooklyn Gerber; 1st Regional level meet, first podium finish, Silver 50 breaststroke. Daisy Davidson; AA 50 freestyle and multiple medalist, 50 freestyle, 50 Fly, 50 breast. Peyton Smith; multiple medalist 200 breaststroke, 50 breaststroke, 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle. McKenna Postles, gold medal 800 freestyle. Jayme Reitsma; 3rd 50 fly, 2nd 50 Free.
And kicking off the Championship Season, at the 1st tier of championship swimming in the province of BC, at the AAA Championships in Kamloops. 5 Swimmers attended the meet representing Abbotsford. Hannah Weunkauf, Ryan Han, Tobyn Smith, James Lee & Tavleen Grewal, represented well and competed with conviction. To provide perspective, last year at this point, 1 swimmer represented Abbotsford at the Provincial championships, with no medals or finals appearances.
A year later, 5 swimmers are here with 2 medals and 10 finals swims. They raced well and have improved tremendously, however and they all leave this experience seeing how much more work and time they need to put in to be great in this sport.
Tavleen Grewal; 11th place 800 Freestyle, Bronze 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay, 7th place 400 Freestyle, 8th place 100 Backstroke, 5th place 200 Backstroke. James Lee; 7th place 50 Butterfly, 15th place 200 Freestyle, 16th place 200 Butterfly. Ryan Han; Silver 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay, 12th place 200 Freestyle, 6th place 200 IM, Silver 4 x 50 Medley Relay. Tobyn Smith & Hannah Weinkauf, both competed extremely well, but did not advance to a final swim.
In addition to what the top swimmers are doing, youngsters in the pipeline, such as Kiera Diotte, Brooklyn Gerber, Westin Osterwich, Allistair Bevan are working hard in pursuit of these older swimmers, look for more from these young Abbotsford swimmers in the future.
Editor’s Note: This feature first appeared 04/04/14