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Special Olympian preparing to compete at championships

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 11:13 am

Special Olympian Sarah Schmick worked on her butterfly stroke during a training session at Genesis Place on Nov. 20.
Special Olympian Sarah Schmick worked on her butterfly stroke during a training session at Genesis Place on Nov. 20.
Lucas Punkari/Rocky View Publishing

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As the 2013 Can-Am Paraswimming Championships edges closer, Airdrie Special Olympics swimmer and Carstairs resident Sarah Schmick has been hard at work in the pool at Genesis Place before she travels to Edmonton in December.

“I have been swimming and working really hard to get ready for the meet,” the 18-year-old said.

“I am looking forward to going there and meeting new swimmers from new places.”

All of Schmick’s events, which will be held at the Kinsman Spots Centre, will take place on Dec. 13 when she will swim in the 50-metre butterfly, the 100m freestyle, and 200m backstroke races.

“I like all of those strokes that I will race in,” Schmick said. “I really love to swim the butterfly and freestyle, and I also like the backstroke a lot as well.”

Though Schmick has been swimming for the last six years, this will be her first time competing at the Can-Am Championships, which is something that her coach Lynne Driessen has been preparing her for.

“There will be swimmers from all over the place at that meet, so I’m sure it will be pretty exciting for her when she is not in the pool racing,” she said. “When it comes to her swimming, we have been working a lot on her starts, her turns, and a little bit of her technique.”

“Sarah learns a lot by watching the other swimmers as well, and she does very well as a result of that,” Driessen added.

Schmick earned her spot at the Can-Am Championships by meeting the national standard time of 57 seconds in the 50m butterfly earlier this year, which also allowed her to compete in the 100m freestyle and 200m backstroke events at the meet.

“We took about nine seconds off of her original time, and that improvement came from doing some stroke correction work with her,” Driessen said.

“She’s gone from over a minute in that event to a new personal best time of 53.93 seconds,” she added.

Schmick’s improvements in her swimming have been noticed by her mother Sue, who is very excited to see Schmick going on to compete at a big event in Edmonton.

“This is a whole new level for her, and I’m not really sure what to expect as I will be watching her swim,” Sue said.

“No matter what happens, I’m very proud of her and I’m very excited to see her going.”


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