Big send off for Eleanor Hobbs

Spe­cial Olympian swim­mer head­ing to Worlds

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS THE COM­PASS

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.

Cel­e­bra­tion

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.

Eleanor Hobbs

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.”

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

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.

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