B.C. Summer Games swimmer Amanda Assen works on her backstroke at Nanaimo Riptides practice Tuesday at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.

Medal quest ‘means a lot’

Four Nanaimo Riptides swimmers are among those with a chance at a medal this week at the B.C. Summer Games in Surrey.

Making it to the B.C. Summer Games was an achievement. Now 71 local youths might as well go one step further, or two or three steps, to the top of the podium.

The Games begin Thursday (July 19) in Surrey.

Four Nanaimo Riptides swimmers – Kara Wilson, Maria de Leeuw, Amanda Assen and Gage DellaRosa  – are among those with a chance at a medal this week.

De Leeuw said she’s been counting down the days to the Games.

“It was one of my goals to get picked and then I got picked, so I was really excited for it,” she said.

The qualifying process involved a complicated points formula. Wilson said she had to “leave it all in the pool” to earn her place.

“It was very exciting for me because it’s going to be a really fun experience with my friends,” she said.

The 100-metre breaststroke might be the most interesting competition for de Leeuw and Wilson, as they go into the Games ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in that event, respectively.

“So it’s going to be really close,” de Leeuw said. “It’s always [dependent] on the finish, not gliding into the wall. You have to take another stroke.”

Wilson said she is “quite prepared” for the Games.

“I’ve been training really hard every day, coming to every single practice,” she said. “Some of [the races] are going to be very difficult to qualify for the finals in. I just need to swim my best and hope for the best.”

De Leeuw is looking forward to the opening ceremonies, she said, and she thinks she might get a chance, in between her swims, to watch some of the synchonized swimming at the Games.

And since not too many swim meets hand out medals, those would be a perfect souvenir for the swimmers.

“[A medal] means a lot. I would be really excited,” de Leeuw said.


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