The Event Making a Big Splash at the 2017 Canada Games

 

By Larissa Campbell

As I am sitting on the spectator benches in a chlorine-scented, balmy, humid 26 degree Celsius environment at the Pan Am Pool, it became evident to me that swimming is the most popular event to date! The fans, decked out in team colours, temporary tattoos and costumes, were eager to show their support with the aid of cowbells! Who would have thought?

Photo: Paul Reimer

As first races near, the athletes are anxiously milling-about the pool deck, full of anticipation. Quite appropriately, Queen’s "We Will Rock You" blares over the loudspeaker, which amps-up both athletes and fans for what is bound to be one of the most exciting nights of the 2017 Canada Games! Echoing this sentiment is team Ontario, who performs a fully choreographed team cheer, complete with jumping and hand actions! Eventually, the final notes of O’Canada ring out, marking the official start of today’s swimming events. With tension thick in the air, the red t-shirted officials walk out onto the pool deck and take their place behind the platform of each of the eight lanes.

Photo: Paul Reimer

In the blink of an eye, the athletes (competing in the women’s 50-metre breaststroke qualifier), outfitted in bathing cap and swimsuit, are walking out onto the pool deck to compete. The crowd hoots and hollers, cheering on their favourite athletes as they stretch and prepare for the race. The athletes eventually take their places on their platforms, the buzzer sounds, they dive into the water; fast-forward to 50 seconds later, and the race is over. Immediately after this race comes the women’s 50 metre breaststroke finals, in which Avery Wiseman of team Alberta wins the coveted gold medal, later presented to her by the Mayor of Winnipeg, Brian Bowman.

Promptly after the women’s 50-metre breaststroke final, is the men’s 50-metre breaststroke qualifier. Again, the buzzer sounds, and the athletes are off! It is plain from the crowd’s shouts of encouragement that Manitoba’s Liam Rohatynsky is one of the favoured to qualify, but he is unfortunately unable to make the cut. In the men’s 50-metre final, team Ontario’s Gabe Mastromatteo triumphs and secures the gold medal to the jubilation of the team Ontario athletes. The next races are the inspiring Para-athlete 50-metre breaststroke races. Manitoba’s Samantha Currie and British Columbia’s Jesse Shade take the gold medals in women’s and men’s 50-metre Para races respectively. They prove that, despite the challenges you face, you can forge ahead and succeed in anything you set your mind to; including winning a gold medal at the 2017 Canada Games!

Photo: Keith Levit

Photo: Paul Reimer

The one thing that stands out throughout the entirety of the swimming event is the intense passion of swimming fans! From the athletes who fervently cheer on their fellow team members, to parents, and to individuals who just love to watch swimming, it can be said without doubt that swimming is the sport with the loudest fans, and is making a huge splash here at the 2017 Canada Games!