What a fantastic meet they all had. In addition to their fast swimming there were a lot of learning opportunities, particularly centering around being in a Games situation. For example, no comforts of home, routines had to be compromised for the sake of our team - we learned the ‘team’ aspect of our sport over the ‘individual’ focus, and basically being at the mercy of the circumstances of the Games.
To give you a brief overview, there were more than 4000 athletes participating in 14 sports over 3 different age categories. Team BC was one of the largest teams with 545 members including our 23 in Swimming. Our swimmers were housed at Durham College, about an hours drive east of the Pan Am pool in Toronto. We were rather isolated but fortunately we were also housed with the entire Swimming community. It was with some effort we were able to connect with our TeamBC teammates of other sports and in showing our support by cheering them all on during the initial 3 days prior to our competition. Of the 14 sports, our athletes were able to cheer on Basketball, Wrestling, Badminton, Track & Field, to name a few.
The competition had 190+/- swimmers participating and so the sessions in the AM were VERY short and the PM were ending closer to 10pm to allow for all the medal presentations of the day. This made for very long days for the athletes but our crew quickly learned that it was a level playing field with all participants handling the same schedule, same circumstances, etc so the greatest goal of ours was to simply race the competitor next to us. And race they did!
It is with great pride that I state that our BC swimmers banded together and for the first time in the Indigenous Games history, Team BC Swimmers won the Competition!
Not only that, the Swimmers’ 64 total medals haul contributed to Team BC’s total of 176 medals and with this, the entire Team BC won the North American Indigenous Games for the second Games in a row. It was an exciting experience to say the least.
It was the Staff’s pleasure working with each swimmer and we trust that our time together attending this extraordinary event was a benefit for their future.
For more information on NAIG 2017, please go to the host society’s site http://naig2017.to/
Head Coach, NAIG 2017