Comox Valley Aquatic Club head coach Kris Bell and swimmer Brooke Lamoureux have just returned from Hungary where they attended the 2014 FINA World Junior Open Water Championships.
This year’s event will become the benchmark for future open water events as the host country pulled out all the stops to create an incredible experience in a world-class setting. Event organizers had the competition grounds in pristine conditions with flowerbeds adorning the lakeside regions where the sunshine and cooperative weather added to the overall excitement and experience felt by the swimmers and spectators alike.
The Sept. 5-7 event was held in Lake Balaton, approximately two hours south of Budapest. The lake was transformed into a modern-day arena with three large 20-foot TV screens to track the athletes throughout the race and to ensure spectators didn’t miss a stroke.
Grandstand facilities were brought in for the races to accommodate the huge crowds. Bell noted the amazing number of officials, volunteers and security staff that were at the event ensuring athletes and their staff were well taken care of. Every detail was well thought out and executed to perfection.
As Lamoureux and her teammate Tessa Cieplucha were the first Canadians to race amongst the world’s best juniors they were surprised by the ferocity of the field, being bumped, pushed and dunked under the water at the start of the race.
Both girls survived the initial onslaught and quickly found each other for support for the remainder of the race while continuing to battle competitors in and out of each turn. It was later revealed that several swimmers succumbed to these conditions and were unable to finish the race. Lamoureux finished 26th of 33 swimmers in the 5K Youth Girls race with Cieplucha right behind her in 27th.
Bell hopes that this event and the experience of Lamoureux will serve as an educational experience for her and all of her Sharks’ teammates on what it takes to compete at the next level. Bell thanked the Comox Valley for all their ongoing and continued support of his swimmers in and out of the water.
If you are interested in joining the Comox Valley Aquatic Club either as a youth competitor or as a Master Swimmer, visit the Sharks’ website www.sharks.bc.ca or look at the Facebook page for more information.
– Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks