Two Elk Valley swimmers and one triathlete are headed to the B.C. Summer Games to compete against the best in the province this week. The Games, which are held in Abbotsford, run from July 21 to 24.
Elkford’s Tatum Kipnik along with Fernie’s Holly Soetaert will be competing in a number of swimming events, while Fernie’s Mac Dressler will race in five triathlon events. The trio has been training together for the competition and are coached by Jera Kipnik, Tatum’s mother.
Soetaert has been swimming competitively for five years and, at only 12 years old, is one of the youngest competitors heading to the Games. While she prefers the shorter distances, she will be competing in some longer events, including the 800-metre freestyle.
“I like faster events but I’m doing a couple of longer ones in the games, such as the 800-metre free,” she said. “I have never done it before. I’m very nervous.”
During the winter Soetaert trains three days a week on average, but her training schedule has increased in preparation for the Games.
“I like that it’s good exercise and I like to compete. I like being competitive. It’s just really fun.”
Mac Dressler qualified for the swimming for the B.C. Summer Games, but decided to go for triathlon instead. The 14-year-old got his start in the pool and has been a competitive swimmer for seven years. While he loves both sports, Dressler says if he had to pick one to compete in, he would choose triathlon.
“If I had to keep it from now until forever, I would probably pick triathlons because you can compete at a high level for longer. If I had to pick one to do from now until I was 20, I would pick swimming.”
Elkford’s Tatum Kipnik is competing in nine events at the B.C. Summer Games, which will be hosted in Abbotsford from July 21 to 24.
Tatum Kipnik, 13, is competing in nine events at the Games, including the 100-metre freestyle, the 200-metre backstroke and 800-metre freestyle races. Her mother Jera is coaching the team and says coaching will be a new challenge.
“There is only five kids, but I have only coached for two years now, so it is a whole different thing,” said Jera.
The two Elk Valley swimmers will be heading to Abbotsford along with three swimmers from the West Kootenays and will represent the Kootenay Region in the provincial competition.
Dressler is the only triathlon competitor representing the Kootenay region. He qualified for the Summer Games at the Wasa Lake Triathlon in June.