The nine athletes with Island Swimming heading to the London 2012 Olympics this month serve as an inspiration for two of Sooke’s young swimmers.
Katie Houlahan, 13, has been swimming with the Juan de Fuca Coho Swim Club since 2008. She is currently swimming in the competitive crush category, and heads to the pool seven times a week.
As a part of Island Swimming, the Cohos occasionally get to interact with the Canadian olympians and watch them in action.
“If they can do it, it makes me feel like I can do it one day,” Houlahan said. “Seeing all the people from Vancouver Island, it’s like they were very close to where I am.”
Young competitive swimmer and Coho, Ashleigh Epps agreed.
“It’s kind of pushed me to stay, that this hard work is really worth it,” she said. “Maybe one day, I can maybe be there.”
Epps currently swims at the national junior level, hitting the water nine times a week. She started swimming with the Coho program in 2003, and began taking the sport seriously just last year.
“It’s all worth it,” Epps said of the long hours.
Both the girls have their eyes set on competing in the Rio de Janerio Olympics in 2016.
A banner was distributed amongst the swim club’s four pools for all young swimmers to sign. It will be sent along with the local Olympians for the London games.