YORKTON – The Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame hosts its 2023 induction ceremonies Sept. 9 at the Gallagher Centre.
Former Yorkton resident, Madison Neufeld, will be part of the induction for her achievements in synchronized swimming, an athletic endeavor that started 17 years ago, when she was just six years old.
"First reaction was definitely a little bit shocking considering the fact that I was in my swimming career very early on in my life," said Neufeld in an interview with Yorkton This Week, adding, "I was very young when I was competing so it definitely came a little but by surprise but I'm completely honoured."
Neufeld said she is incredibly honoured to be recognized for the hard work she put in as a teen, which included gold medals in provincial and national championships.
"I'm proud of my younger self for doing this and getting that far in my swimming career," said Neufeld, "it feels incredible to be honoured by the city that started my swimming career."
Neufeld recalled her time in the sport that started in 2006 after visiting a city-wide registration night.
"I joined the Yorkton Synchro Club — as it was called at the time — in 2006 and I swam there as a recreational swimmer as well as at a provincial level competing in swimming there," said Neufeld.
"I got on to Team Saskatchewan in 2012 and that led me to moving to Saskatoon to be on Team Sask and to work with the Saskatoon Aqualenes there in my pursuit to getting to the 2015 Canada Winter Games."
"The Winter Games was always the goal," said Neufeld.
Neufeld was, at the time, the youngest member of the 2014-2015 Saskatchewan provincial to compete at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC.
"I competed at the 2015 Canada Winter Games and finished off my year at another national competition — the Espoir Nationals — and my swimming career ended in 2015," said Neufeld of the competition that saw her place ninth in Canada for stream duets.
After nine years of competitive synchronized swimming, Neufeld said she moved on from competing, but continued to coach for Yorkton Aquabatix.
These days Neufeld said she supports the sport from sidelines and is focused on pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.
"I'm more of a supporter from the sidelines for all my teammates that have gone on to pursue things like the Olympics and Cirq du Soleil," said Neufeld.
As for the people and groups that helped her along the way, Neufeld said there was no shortage of them.
“I've got many people to thank — mostly I want to thank myself — I'm super proud of myself and everything I've accomplished and everything that my swimming career has brought me later in life as well," said Neufeld, “it's taught me many things about myself and helped develop a lot of skills — like accountability and discipline and time management — that I can always use in my day to day, in school and in my work as well.”
“I've made incredible friendships throughout the way — people that are forever friends from my swimming career — I'm extremely grateful for that,” said Neufeld, “I'm extremely grateful for Yorkton and the Yorkton Synchronized Swimming Club and everything that they helped me with.”