Christa Ferguson used to be a mild-mannered 15-year-old student. Polite and considerate of others, the Our Lady of the Snows student was a model citizen.
But in the pool, according to her friends, she’s a beast.
Ferguson lived up to the billing and laid claim to her first win of the season in the 200-metre freestyle during the Coho’s swim meet at the Canmore Rec Centre on July 23. She followed that up with a fourth-place finish in the 50m backstroke and a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle.
The win was sweet for the swimmer, who had been swimming for nine years.
“I stayed with the other girls and beat them in the end,” Ferguson said.
The victory impressed her coach, who said the club has worked to encourage Ferguson to swim with sportsmanship, but also with edge.
“We had to get that inner racer pulled out of her. She had to be a mean girl in the pool and just go for it,” said Coho coach Janine Giles. “But the win is indicative of a larger commitment to improve her swimming.”
Ferguson led the charge for the Coho club, which had 53 competitors entered in the annual event, now in its 16th year. The results were a pleasant surprise for coach Giles.
“The swimmers performed surprisingly well, considering we were prioritizing racing instead of best times,” she said.
While race times and results are important, Giles said the Coho swim club is interested in creating great citizens, not just great athletes. She’s been around a lot of athletes and said gentle people are attracted to swimming.
“Not only do we make skillful swimmers, but also good little people,” Giles said.
She said the club has more young swimmers than most, however, after coaching for three seasons, she said that’s normal for the local club.
“We have a young group. That’s unusual, but the trend is to have a level of attrition at older ages. Teenagers get jobs and are attracted to other sports,” Giles said.
She also said the parents have played a big role in the success of the club swimmers.
“Success in the pool is correlated to support from home,” Giles said.
Among the gentle swimming winners were Nadia Fish (50m free – second, 25m free – third), Bjorn Baergen (50m free – first), Alex Scurfield (50m free – third), Emma Hendry (50m free – fourth), Krista Scurfield (50m free – fifth), Ella Stokowksi (25m free – second, 50m free – third, 25m breast – fourth), Isaac Wilson (25m back – third, 200m free- second, 50m free – third), Riley Toohey (50m free – first, 100m free – third, 200m free – third), Alison Gourley (100m free – third, 50m free – fourth), Ian Clevenger (400m free – fourth), Rosie Wilson (100m IM – third, 200m free – third), Sean Hipkins (200m Free – fourth), Simon Blench (50m fly – third, 50m breast –third), Pearce Eshenko (50m back – first, 50m breast – second, 400m free – second), Alba Clevenger (200m IM – first, 400m free – first, 50m free – second), John Dreaver (50m breast – first, 800m free – second), Alexandra Pasemko (100m free – first, 50m breast – first).
Age group aggregate winners included Fish, Eshenko, Clevenger, Dreaver and Pasemko.