Head coach Tina Hoeben of the KISU Swim Club talks with team member Justin Fotherby during training at the pool.

Penticton residents in the finals for the Sport B.C. Athlete of the Year Awards

Three local residents named as finalists for the Sports BC annual Athlete of the Year Awards.

Glenn Carlsen’s swimming career got off to a rocky start to say the least.

After “flunking” his beginner’s lessons three times as a six year-old, becoming a world champ was not exactly in his wheelhouse — at least not for another half century.

But that’s exactly what the 60-year-old Okanagan Falls resident did in 2017.

“I got to swim at the world championships last year and achieved a goal that I’ve had for a long time: winning at the world level,” said Carlsen, who is a member of the KISU Swim Club masters team. “It was kind of fun to come out of the water first.”

He and KISU swim coach Tina Hoeben and Scott McLaren have all been named as finalists in the Sport B.C. 52nd annual Athlete of the Year Awards.

Carlsen has been nominated in the Master Athlete of the Year division; Hoeben, who was also selected to go to the Commonwealth Games next month in Gold Coast, Australia, is in the Female Coach of the Year category; and Scott McLaren (softball) in the Official of the Year division.

Founded by Sport B.C. the awards are the longest standing amateur sport recognition event in Canada.

The selection committee, chaired by sports broadcast personality Bernie Pascall, is made up of 16 sportswriters, broadcasters and amateur sport leaders in B.C.

“It was totally unexpected and I’m honoured,” said Carlsen, who swam collegiately at the University of Alberta and semi-professionally as a triathlete before settling down to raise a family. “Then the kids left home to do their thing and I started swimming a lot more seriously.”

According to Hoeben, she had an inkling about the award but had forgotten about it, saying: “It was definitely a nice surprise to get that email.”

Her work at the Commonwealth Games (April 4 to 10) will be as an apprentice coach with the goal of preparing her for future games.

Having coached for 33 years, she believes what happens with her athletes out of the pool, character development and teamwork, is just as important as what they do in the water.

She is also the only female coach to win the Swim B.C. Rubber Boot unsung hero award within the coaching fraternity announced last year.

Related: KISU coach wins prestigious award

McLaren meanwhile was chosen the World Baseball Softball Confederation Umpire of the Year in 2017 announced in Botswana for: “His excellent performance at the 2017 WBSC Junior Women’s Softball World Championship in Clearwater, Fla. Following a great week, he worked the plate for the gold medal game between Japan and the United States.”

He previously represented Canada at the 2014 WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship in Whitehorse.

“Our provincial leader, my boss, phoned about it — I think it started with last fall’s award — it was kind of shocking, I just sort went, ‘oh, really,'” said Scott when he learned he was a finalist. “This is year 31 (officiating) for me. Really it’s love of the sport. You don’t do it for awards and if you talk to any official it eventually comes back to that. I absolutely love the sport.”

Winners will be named at a gala dinner March 28 at the Bayshore Vancouver Hotel.

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