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Olympian Rachel Nicol dives in with the Piranhas

Canadian Olympic Athlete Rachel Nicol gave a special swim clinic to members of the Cochrane Piranhas Swim Club on May 14.
Canadian Olympic athlete, Rachel Nicol, mentoring swimmers at the SLS Centre on May 14.

The Cochrane Piranhas swam with one of the big fishes on May 14, as the team held a special meet and swim with Canadian Olympic Athlete, Rachel Nicol, at the SLS Centre.

Through the "Head to Head" Swim Clinic program, aspiring Olympians and budding swimmers had the chance to learn first-hand on how to further their aquatic skills.

Nicol is a 2016 Rio Olympian, 2023 Pan Am Games double Gold medallist, 2022 FINA World Championship Bronze medallist, and 2015 Pan Am Games bronze and silver medallist.

Nicol said that she was simply in town to have a great time, and to help develop the skills of future Olympic athletes. Prior to diving in with two different groups of swimmers, Nicol gave a special presentation to a room filled with athletes and parents, and answered some questions asked by attendees.

“It’s so great to be here, to be able to talk to the kids and parents, and just give them a little bit of insight on the lessons that I’ve learned in my swim career,” Nicol said. “Maybe give them a little help or motivation, and light that passion and fire in them to get them ready for their season.”

She added that attending events like these are one of the best parts of her job.

“Out of all of the things of becoming an Olympian, this is the best part about it for sure,” Nicol said. “It’s such a fantastic thing to do, and I absolutely love doing it, and I hope that it helps.”

Club president for the Piranhas, Ryan Holly, said they stated to participate in the Canada-wide program last year. Following the success of their first event, he said it was only natural that they would continue to pursue it.

“It’s [a program] where Canadian national athletes can link up with local, community sporting clubs or swim clubs,” Holly explained. “We found out about it last year, and it worked out awesome.”

Holly said it is always great when young athletes have the chance to ask questions, get inspired, and learn from the pros.

“It’s always great when athletes can talk to the younger ones and get them motivated,” he said. “We have great kids here. They’re always asking questions, looking out for their teammates, and they want to do better for themselves, and the Olympic athletes help them do that.”

With their swim season starting soon, Holly said this helps give their athletes some added motivation.

“In the next couple weeks is our first meet, so this kind of gives them that that little boost going into the season,” he said.

Daniel Gonzalez

About the Author: Daniel Gonzalez

Daniel Gonzalez joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2022. He is a graduate of the Mount Royal University Journalism program. He has worked for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and as a reporter in rural Alberta for the ECA Review.
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