Three teenaged swimmers from Airdrie will have the chance to represent their province at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games, Aug. 9 to 18 in Swift Current, Sask.
The three swimmers – 15-year-old Sean Penner, 14-year-old Nathan Wong and 17-year-old para-swimmer Alex Sharpe – are members of the Nose Creek Swim Association (NCSA). Penner, a freestyle and butterfly specialist, said he is excited to compete at the games, considering he missed out on the Alberta Summer Games in 2018.
“I think I’ll have a lot of fun this summer,” said Penner, a Grade-10 student at St. Martin de Porres High School. “I over-qualified for [the Alberta Summer Games]. They had a time standard for it, and if you went past that, you weren’t able to swim.”
He is one of the NCSA’s top swimmers, and recently competed for the third time at the Speedo Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton, April 11 to 14. Competing against the top 14- to 16-year-old swimmers in Western Canada, he raced to a 14th-place finish in the 100-metre (m) freestyle, a 17th-place showing in the 100-m butterfly and a 19th-place finish in the 50-m freestyle.
However, Penner said he felt his performance was impacted by a head cold he suffered in the lead up to the event.
“Canadian Western Champs wasn’t the best showing of how I could do, so I’m trying to build off of that to compete better in Swift Current,” he said. “A few days before, I was getting sick and wasn’t doing the best in terms of being dedicated to training, so slacked off a bit.”
Slacking off may be a bit of an overstatement – Penner spends more than 20 hours per week in the pool. His hard work has paid off, as he managed to break the one-minute mark in the 100-m butterfly event for the first time in December 2018.
One of his future goals, he said, is to qualify for the next Olympic trials.
“Next year, I’m hoping I can impress some people and make the national team for Canada,” the swimmer said, adding competing at the post-secondary level is another of his long-term objectives.
The Western Canada Summer Games will feature roughly 1,700 athletes in 16 sports between the ages of 13 and 20 from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as Canada’s three territories. For more information, visit 2019wcsg.ca