Anne Fabre is my swimspiration

Her goal is simple: she wants to swim all of the events each year and rank first in the individual high points.

She’s strong, steadfast, sixty-five and she’s done it!

Anne Fabre is currently the individual high-point earner in the 65-69 age category and she is my swimspiration.

Anne is currently ranked:

  • 9th in the 50 backstroke
  • 7th in the 100 backstroke
  • 5th in the 200 backstroke
  • 4th in the 200 freestyle and 50 butterfly
  • 3rd in the 100 freestyle
  • 2nd in the 50, 400, 800 & 1500 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 IM
  • 1st in the 50 breast, 100 & 200 breastroke, 200 butterfly and 200 & 400 IM

At 65, Anne is the only one in her age category to have swum the 400 IM this year.

Did I mention she is stealth! Who knew?

– Submitted by anonymous

Kenna Papadopoulos is my swimspiration!

Kenna joined Winskill Otters Masters Swim Club about 15 years ago; she says that back then she could hardly swim 25 meters. Today, she competes in the 70-74 age group, in swims of anywhere from 25 meters to 400 meters. She is a keen competitor and is nothing short of amazing, swimming at better-than-worlds qualifying standards in her age group. I can only dream of being even half as active and successful as Kenna, but she has shown me that not only is it never too late to swim, it is also never too late to compete.

Kenna hardly misses practice. She always encourages our lanemates to watch the pace clock and to keep on track during sets. When she sees me gasping for air at the end of a set, Kenna always reminds me to breathe properly. Breathing properly enables me to swim longer distances – like Kenna, I was unable to swim 25 meters when I returned to swimming in 2010, after a 40-year break.

Swimmers in our practice lane range from ages 24 to 73 – although Kenna is the oldest, she is definitely not the slowest! With Kenna in our lane, she is the epitome of grace and poise in swimming, maintains a good pace and more often than not, leads the sets, especially the pull sets – she is our “Pull Queen” – and she does all this with a pleasant and cheerful disposition.

Kenna never whines nor complains, her work ethic is positive, and she is always focused, no matter how hard or complicated a set may be – I am most fortunate to be able to learn from her and to follow her lead.

Socially, no Winskill Otter function is ever complete without Kenna – and her “appies” are to die for – just ask any Winskill Otter about her mouth-watering spanakopitas and mousakas, etc. etc. etc.! Functions are usually held on Saturday evenings, but timing never affects Kenna – she always turns up for practice bright and early on Sunday morning, totally awake and ready to rock the practice! If that’s not sheer dedication, I don’t know what is!

It is indeed my honour to be swimming in the same practice lane as Kenna because she is so very much more than just my lanemate – she is my swimspiration!!!!!

– Submitted by Fernanda Ho

My swimspiration is also one of my heroes.

Have you ever put on few extra pounds? Or maybe you’re carrying a few extra? Think about how that has you feeling about yourself, or how you think others might feel about your extra mid-drift.

Now think about what it was like for you when you first walked on deck in a bathing suit. Add another one hundred or 200 pounds to your body weight. Visualize how you would look and feel.

With that vision in your head, ask yourself “Am I brave enough to step out on pool deck and then swim with masters?”

Obesity is a serious medical problem with a serious health risks. Add to that society’s view on extra body fat and you have a recipe for life long-illness.

In general, it is simply not culturally acceptable to be obese and I can say from first-hand experience you are treated differently. Many blame the person for their happenstance, some publically ridicule, while others simply do not see the obese person, ignoring them as though they don’t exist. So how is it that fat or obese people can get-out-there and exercise to work toward good health?

My best guess is that it takes more than a supportive community. It takes a special kind of tough topped with courage and dedication to ones betterment. For these reasons, and many more, Len Martel is my swimspiration and one of my heroes.

Len made his way onto the pool deck and began swimming with Victoria Masters about seven years ago and has been losing weight and becoming healthier ever since. He consistently shows up for each work out with a smile on his face, is a friend to everyone, and actively volunteers in the swim community.

Thus far Len has lost over 180 pounds, almost half of his pre-swimming body weight. Seven years ago he swam 50 free in 55 seconds. He recently swim it in 35.6.

Bravo Len!

Notice of MSABC AGM

The Masters Swimming Association of British Columbia (MSABC) Annual General Meeting will be held:

          Saturday April 26 30 minutes after the mixed 200m Relay
          H2O Adventure & Fitness Centre
          4075 Gordon Drive
          Kelowna, BC V1W 5J2

Please note the following board positions are up for nomination:

  1. Vice President
  2. Treasurer
  3. Editor/Communications
  4. Director at Large

Samira Rusman is my swimspiration

Samira came to Canada in 1999 as a refugee of the Bosnian war with her son (then 6 and half years old), in search for a better life. She first lived in Richmond, B.C., working two jobs with barely enough English to get by, no drivers licence, and work experience. She studied her son’s school books until she felt confident enough to go to college. It was her way of moving forward.

She lived in Richmond for six years and then moved to Nanaimo with her family. She finished her education at Malaspina College and now works in health care as a sterile supply technician in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. She bought her own place nd a new car. With her son now grown up she realized it was time to start doing again something she always loved – swimming.

Samira, a national level swimmer, was forced to give up swimming because of the war in her country. Now, almost 25 years later she has joined the Nanaimo Ebbtides Master Swimming Club and started competing again. Her first competition was in Vancouver, November 2012

When Samira started competing in lakes and the ocean she realized her swimming could be used to help raise money for those in need. Her first open water swim was the Thetis Lake Swim for MS where she swam 5km. She later swam from Gabriola Island to Nanaimo to raise money for kids with cancer. Motivated by her friend’s granddaughter who is suffering from leukemia, she swam the 7km event in 1 hour and 45 minutes and raised $3,000.00.

Samira recently told me that “My life is good now so I am now able to help others.”

– anonymous