For years, Inconnu Swim Club member Griffin Ternier-Smith has given his all in the pool, honing his craft and improving each year. Now, at 16, he has a chance to make an impact on a bigger stage and take the next step in his swimming career.
Ternier-Smith has been selected to take part in the 2019 Youth Freestyle Relay Training Camp, put on by Swimming Canada’s National Development Team Program. From May 17 to 27, Ternier-Smith will be in Vancouver along with seven other males and eight female swimmers from across Canada, and will be groomed to potentially swim for Canada’s relay team. Ternier-Smith was the only male selected from B.C., adding to the significance of the selection.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity that not a lot of people to go to. It’s a moment that will affect me for the rest of my swim career,” Ternier-Smith said.
Neither Ternier-Smith nor his coach Norah Vogan were aware that Ternier-Smith was in the running to be chosen.
“When I got the email I was losing it. I’m so excited for him and the club is very proud,” said Vogan.
Vogan said the swimmers at the camp are a dream team of the best youth swimmers in Canada, and that the purpose is to find relay swimmers for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
The camp will be focusing on 4 x 100m freestyle and 4 x 200m freestyle relays. Ternier-Smith is an excellent freestyle swimmer. He said the 200m is his best distance, though he’s never swam a relay at that distance, just the 4 x 100m. At the 2018 J.P. Fiset Swim Meet in Edmonton in December 2018, Ternier Smith shaved three seconds off his personal best in the 200m freestyle on his way to winning the race.
Swimmers were selected for the camp based off their club records, recorded relay times, and Canadian rankings.
In the meantime, Ternier-Smith and Vogan will be focusing on training for the upcoming Western Canadian Championships as well as improving at more stokes besides just freestyle.
“It’s very important that the kids are balanced in what they swim, so as to not wear out their arms and body. Swimmers don’t normally specialize at this age, but (Ternier-Smith) has a great opportunity ahead of him,” said Vogan.
As for Ternier-Smith, he’s not looking past the camp, and is excited for whatever comes with the experience.
“I’ll be happy with whatever I can get out of it, whether that’s a new experience, meeting new people, and just being in a totally different environment,” said Ternier-Smith.
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