Carbonear swimmer making waves in New Brunswick
Sole Newfoundlander on UNB Varsity Reds swim team competing hard
Carbonear native Allison Somers is fitting in well with the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds swim team.
The 18-year-old packed her bags earlier this year, uprooting herself from her hometown and moving to Fredericton, N.B., for school. And she is doing well making the transition.
“Things are going pretty good,” Somers told The Compass after a short trip home for Christmas. “It’s been an eventful year for sure, with lots of changes and adjustments to get used to.”
The sole Newfoundlander on the team has had an excellent year in the sport, with multiple medals earned while competing for Carbonear’s Poseidon Swim Club last season, and top three finishes with UNB at several competitions so far this season. But she hopes the best is yet to come.
Somers graduated Carbonear Collegiate with honours this past June. It was not an easy decision to pick where she would attend university, but she knew she wanted to continue swimming.
“I looked at many different universities with competitive varsity teams before deciding on UNB,” she explained.
Her decision was made while chatting with other swimmers and coaches.
“I just knew,” she said. “They made the team sound very welcoming to new swimmers, which they were indeed.”
It wasn’t just the feeling of belonging to the group that helped Somers decide. Another factor was very important.
“I wanted a team that would push me to train harder,” she said. “I knew there were some fast swimmers from UNB that would push me to do better.”
Her decision also helped earn her a scholarship.
As the recipient of the James Somerville Scholarship, Somers received $4,000 at the beginning of her first semester. She will continue to receive $2,500 for the following three years, as long as she remains a member of the Varsity Reds swim team and maintains a 2.5 grade point average (GPA).
Somers is also eligible for a renewable scholarship that can range from $1,000 to $7,000 each year. Her GPA will determine the amount she receives.
Transition to a new home
The transition has not always been the easiest for Somers.
“My first semester was good, but difficult at times,” she explained. “Trying to balance both school work and swimming is tough, especially at the university level. But I feel like I know how to handle things now.”
The important things, she noted, were to prioritize and stay on top of things.
“I’m feeling much more confident going into next semester in terms of school and swimming.”
In the true nature of college experiences, Somers, who wants to be a teacher, is living in residence. That living arranagement is definitely helpful when it comes to making friends and staying involved with her peers.
Her passion for swimming has remained consistent.
Success in the pool
“My biggest success this year is my swimming since I left home,” she said. “I’m very happy with my performances so far this season, considering the stress that comes along with school work and being away from home.”
Not only has she finished with some great results, she has also tied and beat some of her personal best times in different events.
But what goals await her for the remaining few months of the season?
“My goals for swimming in 2015 are to place in the top three for at least one of the butterfly events at the AUS (Atlantic University Sport) Championships,” she exclaimed. “This is the biggest meet of the year for the majority of the people on our team.”
She also wants to get personal best times in all of her events.
The AUS Championships takes place Feb. 6-8 at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
But no matter where she’s competing, how far away she travels or how well she performs outside her home province, Somers won’t forget her swimming roots.
“Going away for university is a great learning experience, but home to me will always be Newfoundland.”