Big send off for Eleanor Hobbs
Special Olympian swimmer heading to Worlds
Surrounded by more than two-dozen teammates, volunteers and friends, Eleanor Hobbs of Victoria was given an exciting send off at the Carbonear pool Wednesday, June 17, just a month before heading to the biggest swimming event of her life.
The 38-year-old is headed to Los Angeles, California, where she will compete at the Special Olympic World Games. Hobbs qualified for the event at the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver last year.
While the send off was a celebration of her accomplishments and to wish her luck, Hobbs was quick to let everyone know this is not about only her.
During a short speech to the crowd, she explained that her success is because of the TriCon Gentle Giants and the encouragement she has received over the years.
“If I don’t come home with any medals, so be it,” she said. “It’s about making memories.”
And for her, that’s exactly what she expects. It will be her first time travelling to the United States, and she is excited.
“I’m excited for the opportunity that I have the chance to go down there,” Hobbs explained.
The event was more of a celebration for the TriCon Gentle Giants swim team after a year of success in the pool.
Swimmers competed several times this season, including hosting a meet earlier this year. Others also competed last summer at the Canada Summer Games with Hobbs.
Sandwiches, fruit and treats, including a cake, were served to everyone in attendance. Some even went back for seconds.
Hobbs sat on the sidelines, watching her team devour what was on their plates.
“I’m proud of them all,” she said. “They keep me going. That’s what I want, I want them to work harder and do their best, and one of these days, they will get where I am to.”
Dozens of hugs were given to Hobbs before, during and after the party, and she was happy to receive every one. She was also excited to have MHA Sam Slade and Carbonear Mayor George Butt come to celebrate with her. A representative from MP Scott Andrews’ office came on his behalf.
The whole group posed for a photo with their hometown hero, and clapped to acknowledge their pride for her.
I’ve improved over the years. Coaches worked me harder.
Hobbs began swimming 11 years ago, later than many of her teammates. But she showed great promise and worked hard to build her skill. Competing in Vancouver last year saw her come home with many personal best times, but also with four gold medals in 50 metre butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 individual medley and 100 freestyle. She also earned a silver in 50 free and a bronze in 25 fly.
For the past year, Hobbs has been training hard for the Games, which will take place July 25-Aug. 2. She will be one of 22 swimmers competing from Canada.
In May, she completed a portion of her training in Montreal, where she said she learned a lot. Still she attributes much of her success to the dedication of those who have pushed her over the years.
“I’ve improved over the years,” said Hobbs. “Coaches worked me harder.” She will join some 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches from 177 countries to participate in 26 summer sporting events.
“My goal is to do my best, represent the province and country the best that I can, and I want to know everybody is proud of me,” Hobbs explained. “I want to do my personal best, and I know that the memories do come.”
All athletes from the Tri-Con Gentle Giants swim team took part in a congratulatory send off for Eleanor Hobbs, who will be going to Los Angeles next month to compete in the Special Olympics World Games.