Skill of our swimmers never ceases to amaze me

It’s been several years since I have worked a larger swim meet.
When my eldest son was swimming for the Fort Frances Aquanauts, I took up officiating at swim meets and was able to participate in some of the largest ones in Canada featuring the country’s fastest swimmers.
What I found interesting was how well local swimmers did competing against the best in Canada.
Hockey always has caught the eye of Fort Frances residents, but we’ve had several swimmers who have swam extremely well at provincial, college, and national levels.
Last weekend, Alex Parent from here received provincial recognition and was “carded” by Swim Ontario. The carding recognizes athletes with special talent in their sport and Alex now has been recognized as a swimmer with great talent.
It will assist him in travels to meets across Canada and internationally.
This past weekend, I found myself working at a meet in Kenora that attracted many of the best swimmers from Northwestern Ontario and Manitoba.
Members of Kenora’s swim team all were wearing T-shirts with the Beijing Olympics logo on the back and the words “Dare to dream” underneath.
And I believe there were swimmers in the tank who were dreaming seriously about representing their country in China in 2008. One 13-year-old female faced off against the strongest male swimmers in the 50 butterfly and matched them metre for metre to end in a photo finish.
The guys were no slouches—they were only a couple of seconds off of Canadian records.
As I stood on deck, a whole group of young men aged 15 and 16 towered over me. I would guess that they averaged 6’4” in height. They were lean and when they hit the water in the 50m and 100m freestyle events, they built up a six-inch wave of water in front of them.
They’re kicking threw hundreds of gallons of water in huge droplets into the air.
The older girls swimming also were nearing Canadian team standards.
I realized that several of those swimmers are bound for the Olympic games and will represent Canada at other international swim meets.
The meet also invited youth from the area who had never been to a competition before, and they were rewarded for their swims. Perhaps the biggest reward was that they were in the same pool as their older peers who are following their dream.
And if anything happens, some of those six-, seven-, and eight-year-olds who tested the water for the first time this past weekend also will be chasing their dream to be in the Olympics within the decade.

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