Two swimmers from the North Coast hit the pools in Montreal earlier this month for the FINA World Masters 2014 Championships, putting in a strong showing against the best in the world.
Prince Rupert’s Cheryl Paavola competed in five events in the 40-44 age group, swimming in freestyle competitions ranging in distance from 50 metres to 800 metres. Paavola finished the 50-metre freestyle in a time of 34.45, completed the 100-metre freestlye in 1:17.40, swam to a time of 2:53.83 in the 200-metre freestyle, fell just short of a Top 30 finish in the 400-metre freestyle with a time of 6:08.43 and completed the grueling 800-metre freestyle with a time of 12:35.82.
Despite not having a home pool to practice in, Amanda Bedard of Haida Gwaii showed she belonged in Montreal with fast finishes in her three events in the 30-39 age group. Bedard cracked the Top 20 in the 100-metre breaststroke, finishing in a time of 1:28.22, placed 21st in the 50-metre breastroke with a time of 39.89 and swam to a time of 2:38.04 in the 200-metre
Paavola said being in Montreal and competing agains the best in the world was an experience that won’t be forgotten.
“It gave me a whole new perspective on aging, fitness and what is possible. There were over 8,000 athletes there, more than 6,000 were swimmers, and I have never seen a more fit group of people in my life. The fact that most of them were over 40 was phenomenal,” she said, noting she was proud to be among the competitors.
“I was really pleased with my performance.”