Her mom says she took to swimming naturally when she was young, and now Woolwich Wave swimmer Grace Parker has broken a record.
The 14-year-old racer beat the South Western Ontario Swim Association record for the 100-metre medley event at a regular swim meet in Kincardine on July 9. She completed the race in 1:19.97, beating the record time by only 14 milliseconds. The previous record, set in 2004 in the Girls 13 and 14 category, was 1:20.11.
The swimmer says it was a great feeling to see all of her hard work pay off in the pool.
“It goes in order with all four of the swim strokes – butterfly, backstroke, breast stroke and freestyle,” she said of the swimming race. “I found out I broke the record really soon after the swim because my coaches had the record written down and we just checked my time and it was fast. I never thought I would break a record, but it is definitely rewarding after swimming for all these years.”
Her favourite part of the four-part swim is the butterfly, a complicated swimming stroke where the swimmer’s arms are raised out of the water and used to propel the swimmer forward. It is accompanied by a dolphin kick, and can be exhausting.
“Not many people like it,” she said of the butterfly stroke. “In my medley and in relay with other people, I always got stuck with it, and it is not easy for a lot of people, but for me for some reason, it is.”
Parker’s mother, Laura Bickle, says she is proud to see her daughter succeed after all of the hard work she has put in at practices and meets around the province.“She has always been a natural in the water, but to see her not only placing as high as she has been, breaking this record has been a huge accomplishment,” she said. “It a testament to all the hard work that she has put into it, and also for the coaches too. They put a lot into it as well. They volunteer their time, and they have worked hard with her, and I think that it really shows everyone coming together to make this happen.”
Bickle says she has put quite a few kilometres on the car driving the kids to practices and meets all over Ontario.
“It is what you do as a parent when you want to see your kids succeed,” she said. “Neither my husband nor I are athletic, so it is nice to see my girls do have some athleticism in them.”
Elmira and the Woolwich Wave recently hosted the semi-final swim meet at the Woolwich Memorial Centre, and the team will be heading to Baden this weekend for finals.