SASKATOON — Hannah Ouellette is thankful her parents had her taking swimming lessons when she was just four months old, a skill that gave her the chance to do it competitively.
The incoming Grade 11 student at Marion Graham Collegiate is currently with Team Saskatchewan for the 2022 Canada Games in Niagara, Ont., and on Wednesday clinched a bronze in the women’s 14-26 50 metre butterfly multi-class para (S1-7).
It was the first medal in the games for Team Saskatchewan, which has now collected five silver medals and two more bronze, all from wrestling.
“I have always loved the water and started swimming more competitively at around age 11. I joined the Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club at age 10,” said Ouellette, who clocked 20.13 at the Brock University-Eleanor Misener Aquatics Centre.
“I felt that I had a good race and that I swam pretty fast. When I found out I won the bronze I couldn't believe it. I was excited about a bronze medal finish,” added Ouellette, who considers the 50m backstroke her favourite swimming event.
She also competes in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley where she recorded personal best times that she keeps track of especially when training for a competition.
“I keep track of my times for training because I’m always trying to beat my best times at meets. At the games, I made personal best times in my 200m freestyle (4:06.23) and my 50m butterfly (1:00.23),” added the 16-year-old Ouellette.
Ryan Jones, her coach, said it was fun to see how Oullette improved in the past season which led her to settle for the bronze.
“She’s beginning to understand how her body moves in the water and train and race reliably. I am proud of how well she did throughout the Canada Games and all of the work she has put into getting here. I am excited to see what next year brings,” said Jones.
Oullette said she tried other sports when she was growing up but enjoyed swimming more as she liked being in the water.
“My body works well in the water. I like being in the water in general, but I enjoy the swim meets and competitions. I like the environment and the chance to swim against other para swimmers,” Ouellette ended.