KAMLOOPS — Some of the B.C. Interior's top young swimmers were at the Canada Games pool last weekend, taking part in a Swim B.C. ID camp — all hoping to show they've got what it takes to make it at the next level of the sport.
"When you're getting kids of a similar age, ability and interest together," says Kamloops Classics coach Brad Dalke, "it only helps to foster a higher, better, faster swimming."
As part of the camp, Swim B.C. brought in Team Canada swimmer Eric Hedlin, the 2018 Pan Pacific silver medallist in the 10 K open water swimming event. Hedlin spoke to the athletes about what it takes to compete at the international level.
"I want to hopefully fill these kids with a little bit of inspiration," says Hedlin. "Get them more excited about the sport and hopefully coach them through practice a little bit too."
There were several members of the Kamloops Classics Swim Club at the camp. For them the camp was a great chance to met some of the competitors they usually swim against, while taking part in some interaction with provincial level coaches.
"It's a great opportunity for us," says Kamloops Classics swimmer Keana Smart. "A great opportunity to learn new techniques and instruction."
Being able to talk to someone like Hedlin who is a seasoned athlete both in the pool and in open water, was also a unique opportunity for these young swimmers to gain some insight into competition at the highest level of the sport.
"He definitely has the experience," says Jack Cameron, a swimmer with the Kamloops Classics. "Giving us that taste of how it feels to be at those higher meets and that assurance that you just have to stick to your routine and get through it."
With the 2019 FINA World Junior Swimming Championship coming up next summer, there's an opportunity for these athletes to push their swimming careers to a higher level. Hedlin says he hopes to help inspire these young athletes and help foster a lasting love for the sport.
"I love the sport myself," says Hedlin. "I just hope to inspire them with some of that enthusiasm and see that being a high level athlete is fun — there's always benefits. I just want them to get really excited about the sport."
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