It’s a big leap from an amateur swim club to a university varsity team, but Sarah McChesney is successfully going with the flow so far at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).
And that includes a new wardrobe.
“The one thing I’ve had to get used to is the orange … orange everything – shirts, pants, swimsuits, jackets and hats. As a [Charles Hays] Rainmaker I grew up wearing green and gold. Orange doesn’t match with anything,” she joked in an email from Kamloops.
Ten different Top-10 finishes at the recent Penticton Iron Pentathlon swim meet gave the TRU Wolfpack member a seventh-overall placing in the women’s triple pentathlon format from Oct. 17-19.
McChesney swam to a fifth-place finish in the 100 freestyle – her best finish – and had two sixth-places – in the 100 breaststroke and 200 freestyle, two seventh-places, two ninth-place swims and three 10th-place finishes.
“Everyone did well, but I was most surprised with Sarah’s butterfly,” said TRU head coach Brad Dalke.
“She has a lot of potential on that particular stroke.”
“I guess Brad saw something in my fly that he likes. So right now we are focused on starts and turns and feeling the water better,” said the swimmer.
McChesney had no reservations about describing her leap to post-secondary varsity status.
“The past meet I just competed in was hands down the toughest swim meet I have ever swam in my life,” she said.
“First off, we swam straight through. This means that we were not rested or tapered at all … This was not a meet necessarily for performance but just a test to see how hard I could push my body. Our goal for the weekend was to come within three per cent of our best times,” said McChesney, adding that she swam in 15 competitions in different strokes in three days, a gruelling schedule for any swimmer.
McChesney was the top-ranked female member of the Wolfpack after the meet and Jagdeesh Uppal finished in 12th to be the top men’s finisher for TRU.
“The team had an outstanding start for this time of the swim season. Sixty per cent of our swims at the meet were within three per cent of our lifetime bests. This is outstanding given the volume of training our team is going through right now,” said Dalke after the meet.
Despite the initial adjustment period for McChesney, she enjoys bettering herself through the increased competition.
“Since we train with the [Kamloops] club I am able to train with many people who push me further than if I were to be training back home,” she said.
Next up for McChesney and the Wolfpack is the Cascade Speed Meet in Calgary from Nov. 7 – 9.