Salmon Cove swim­mer suc­ceeds

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

“When I am in the pool, I feel like I can do any­thing.”

Sarah For­ward

Early ev­ery Satur­day morn­ing, Sarah For­ward drags her­self out of bed and gets ready to head to Car­bon­ear Swim­ming Pool.

This is usu­ally the sixth day in a week the 12-year-old com­pet­i­tive swim­mer trains.

She, along with the rest of the com­pet­i­tive Po­sei­don Swim Club mem­bers, have upped the ante on train­ing, and in­creased their sched­ule from five nights a week, adding the Satur­day morn­ing prac­tice.

Although Sarah of­ten strug­gles to get up on her day off school, she knows once she gets up and mov­ing, the prac­tice will be worth it.

“Af­ter prac­tice is over, I’m happy I went,” the shy sev­enth grader told The Compass dur­ing a brief pre-prac­tice chat last Tues­day.

Sarah not only en­joys the ex­er­cise and ex­cite­ment of be­ing on a com­pet­i­tive swim team.

“When I am in the pool, I feel like I can do any­thing. I dive in and I’m re­ally ex­cited about

what I can do.”

Role model

Swim­ming for Sarah is about more than medals and per­son­albest times. The younger swim­mers look up to her.

“When I was down in the change room I was telling the younger girls, ‘ You need to get your champ times,’” she said. “They said they couldn’t, but I told them they can.”

The younger swim­mers like to hang out with the more se­nior team mem­bers at swim meets. In fact, the age dif­fer­en­tial — the team has swim­mers be­tween the ages of nine and 15 — doesn’t ap­pear to af­fect any of them.

“It’s nice to see them all work­ing with one an­other, talk­ing with one an­other and en­cour­ag­ing one an­other,” Sarah’s mother Megan For­ward told The Compass. “I think it’s awe­some that Sarah and the older swim­mers are role mod­els.”

Sarah con­firmed the group cheers for each other dur­ing meets and plays to­gether dur­ing down­time at prac­tice.

Over­com­ing strug­gles

Sarah has been di­ag­nosed as dou­ble jointed, or hy­per­mo­bil­ity, by an or­tho­pe­dic sur­geon. It can cause loose­ness or lax­ity in the shoul­ders, which can present a chal­lenge for swim­mers.

She was hav­ing some dif­fi­culty with her ro­ta­tor cuff, which pre­vented her from be­ing able to swim three of the four strokes — front crawl, back­stroke and but­ter­fly.

At the time, breast­stroke was not her strong­est swim, but it was the only one she was al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in. So, while go­ing through phys­io­ther­apy to strengthen the mus­cles around her shoul­der, Sarah be­gan im­prov­ing her breast­stroke tech­nique. It is now her favourite stroke.

Megan said the in­jury didn’t de­ter her daugh­ter from swim­ming, although oth­ers her age may not have stuck with it.

Sarah is proud of get­ting over that thresh­old, and is work­ing to not let her hy­per­mo­bil­ity af­fect her swim­ming. She con­tin­ues to have her shoul­der checked out, and said she will do what she needs to in or­der to keep swim­ming.

Big meet

Sarah has been work­ing hard in the pool to pre­pare for one of the big­gest meets of the year — the East Coast Cham­pi­onships at the Mount Pearl Sum­mit Cen­tre. Sarah is the only Po­sei­don swim­mer to qual­ify for the com­pe­ti­tion, hap­pen­ing March 5-9.

How does she feel about at­tend­ing by her­self?

“I feel ex­cited and a lit­tle ner­vous,” she said.

Her mom is re­ally ex­cited for her to be com­pet­ing at an elite com­pe­ti­tion for the sec­ond year in a row.

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COMPASS

Sarah For­ward of Posi­don Swim Club will com­pete in Mount Pearl March 5-9 in the East Coast Cham­pi­onships.

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