| May 15, 2008

Feature Article - May 15, 2008

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Feature Article - May 15, 2008 Local athlete Brittanie Grant brings home silver MedalBy Julie Druker

Local athlete Brittanie Grant from Harrowsmith recently competed at the Canadian Open Synchronized Swimming Championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and came home victorious, winning silver in the Tier 7 Junior Team Championships.

This has been a long-time goal for the young athlete. In September 2007 Brittanie was accepted to swim in Quebec City on the Synchro Elite's A Team. The terms of acceptance required her to move to Quebec City, live with a Francophone family, train 25 hours a week with a team that is coached entirely in French, and continue her studies in the Ontario curriculum by correspondence courses. Quite a determined decision for a 16-year-old year to make.

Brittanie doesn't sound at all put out by the experience, however. She loved Quebec City and was fond of the family who billeted her. She admits that it was "hard to understand all of the corrections and terms when training, since the coach only spoke in French." Her determination has paid off; less than a year later, she can "comfortably converse and understand conversations in French".

She admits that being away from home and her family was difficult at times, but she managed to keep in touch with her parents every day through MSN. She explains that she knew what she was getting herself into. There were other options available to her, programs in Montreal and Toronto, but she chose Synchro Elite in Quebec because of its "professionalism and solid reputation."

Brittanie started off interested in gymnastics but began swimming in grades seven and eight at the Kingston Synchro Club, where she began competing at the provincial level. In grades nine and ten she competed nationally. This is her fifth year swimming and she has some definite plans for the future. Next year she will return to Quebec and continue swimming with the Tier 7 Juniors. She hopes to find an apartment in Quebec City with another member of her team. The following year she may stay in Quebec and swim with the Tier 7 Seniors or else apply to Ohio State University where she can swim at the varsity level. "The Olympics?" I ask (too hard to resist). She'll cross that bridge when she gets to it.

Happy to be home for the summer, Brittanie has a busy scheduale mapped out for herself. With support from Joanna Belsher of the High Performance Athletes Program she will continue studying. She also plans to get a job, volunteer at the veterinary clinic in Sydenham and do some volunteer coaching at the Kingston Synchro Club. Are her parents proud? Of course. Her mother Rhonda explains how so much of her daughter’s dreamwas reached this year through the help of Andrea Murphy at the Limestone District School Board. She also expressed her delight in having a "top class kid at her age who chose to leave home to pursue her dreams."

Congratulations to Brittanie and the entire Grant family.

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