Former Fort Frances Aquanaut Heather Dutton began her CIS swimming career as a member of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
But she’s since traded in horns for something a little more governmental after joining the University of Ottawa GeeGees for the 2010-11 season.
Dutton broke school records in both the 100m (1:05.41) and 200m (2:24.30) fly at the Enyon Division Championships in mid-November, although the latter was eclipsed by teammate Ashley Wright a couple of weeks later.
Dutton has performed well even though she’s bouncing back from a shoulder injury that required surgery about a year-and-a-half ago.
She said one of her biggest challenges this season has been learning how to work with her shoulders after the injury.
“It was really slow at first, but now I’m back full now, so it’s good,” Dutton remarked.
“It just took a long time before I was able to add intensity to the workout.
“But now if I do my stretches and take care of my shoulders, then it’s good and I can do all the training,” she noted.
“With my shoulder, it’s knowing when I have to back off so I can keep my shoulder good for the next practice—learning how to deal with my injury,” she continued.
Dutton is thrilled to be working with GeeGees’ coach Derrick Schoof, a three-time CIS coach of the year with the University of British Columbia.
She said Schoof has been able to attract a bevy of young talent to the team, and has backed it up with sound advice in the pool.
“We’ve been working lots on my stroke techniques and improving all my strokes,” Dutton noted.
“We have a really good coach,” she lauded. “He’s recruited a lot of young swimmers, so we have a lot of potential on the team.”
Dutton said the experience in Ottawa is ramped up, especially with so many schools so close together, meaning she’s able to square off against some stiff competition.
“We get to race university swimmers more often,” she explained. “At Lethbridge, we mostly swam at club meets, so we were mostly racing club swimmers.
“Now we get to do dual meets with university swimmers since it’s so much closer to just drive to Toronto or Guelph.”
Schoof, meanwhile, raved about the experience Dutton brings to the team.
“Heather is a hard-worker, tough competitor, and our young team will look to her for some added leadership this season,” Schoof noted in an e-mail.