My swimspiration is Elsa De Leeuw

I swim with White Rock WAVE and a fellow swimmer who inspires me is Elsa De Leeuw.

I first met Elsa eight years ago when I joined the swim club. I joined the club in my mid-thirties after having sustained an injury from long distance running. I felt joining a swim club, and learning to swim properly would replace the cardio workout of running and also give me a valuable life skill.

On my first day in the pool, imagine my surprise as 82 year old Elsa proceeded to lap me repeatedly . She seemed to skim effortlessly across the surface of the water.

I, on the other hand, choked and sputtered my way thru the workout. I drank so much of the pool that bathroom breaks were mandatory half way thru the practice. I didn’t understand the hierogylphics of the workout board. There were four different strokes and so much to think about. More than once quitting crossed my mind.

All thru this Elsa was so kind and encouraging. She took me under her wing. She explained what the workout board meant and she gave me thoughtful, genuine compliments when she noticed improvements. She encouraged me to “keep at it”. Sometimes when I was truly ready to “throw in the towel”, I’d find a card from Elsa on top of my swim bag. Inside the card were inspiring words that with practice and patience there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Elsa kept me going during my darkest days of swimming!

Elsa is now 90 years old and I smile when I see her taking another new swimmer under her wing. I could say I find Elsa inspiring because she is 90 years old, still is a beautiful swimmer and holds many BC and Canadian records. However, that is not why I find Elsa inspiring.

I find Elsa inspiring because of her love of the sport of swimming and her willingness to pass her love of the sport along to others.

I now call myself a swimmer, swim 3x per week and no longer miss running. I can honestly say I love swimming! I know this love of swimming was inspired and made possible in a large part by Elsa De Leeuw!

– Submitted by Dr. Cheryl Tuira


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