Bay Roberts swim­mer medals at Indige­nous Games

Noah Coombs shares ex­pe­ri­ence from North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Noah Coombs, a 14-year-old swim­mer from Bay Roberts, re­cently re­turned from the ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time. A mem­ber of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq band, Coombs com­peted at the 2017 North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games in Toronto, Ont. He met lots of peo­ple, took part in cul­tural learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, and also man­aged to earn some medals.

BAY ROBERTS, NL — Noah Coombs has a pas­sion for swim­ming, and that pas­sion re­cently re­sulted in him bring­ing home sev­eral medals.

Coombs, 14, took part in the 2017 North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games, held in Toronto over a span of one week.

Coombs, who is a part of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq band, caught up with The Compass af­ter a night of soc­cer prac­tice to share his ex­pe­ri­ence, which he de­scribed as un­for­get­table.

“It re­ally was a great ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Coombs. “It was my first time trav­el­ling out of prov­ince for swim­ming, and I couldn’t ask for bet­ter.”

The Bay Roberts res­i­dent trav­elled to Toronto on July 15th, where he spent a week com­pet­ing in sev­eral events, as well as meet­ing new peo­ple and mak­ing friends with swim­mers from all over the con­ti­nent.

Coombs’ time in Toronto gave him a list of new ac­com­plish­ments, in­clud­ing four medals and a mul­ti­tude of new per­sonal best times.

“It’s re­ally re­ward­ing,” Coombs said. “You work so hard at some­thing, and get­ting the chance to put that to the test is great all on its own. Com­ing back with some­thing to show for it feels amaz­ing.”

Coombs raced in the 50— free, 100—free, and 200—free swims, the lat­ter of which he won a bronze medal in.

The 400—free saw Coombs earn a sec­ond bronze medal, and his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the 4x100 free re­lay and 4x50 free re­lay earned him a sil­ver and bronze medal re­spec­tively.

Coombs was also in the 50— back and 100—back. Coombs came out of all six swims with a per­sonal best time; some­thing he says was just as re­ward­ing as the medals.

He also noted that the train­ing reg­i­men lead­ing up to such an event was no joke, spend­ing ap­prox­i­mately nine and a half hours in the pool a week, along­side spin classes, bike rid­ing, and jog­ging mixed in with a cou­ple ses­sions a week with his per­sonal trainer, Bo Ben­nett.

“It’s a lot of work,” Coombs noted. “But I love to do it.”

Coombs’ pas­sion for swim­ming came about when he was around 9-years-old, hav­ing been a part of the Bay Roberts Sea Lions and the Po­sei­don Swim Club for sev­eral years.

Coombs also told The Compass that his love for the wa­ter is what made him de­cide to pur­sue it full-time.

“I used to play hockey dur­ing the win­ter, and then swim in the sum­mer,” Coombs ex­plained. “But af­ter a while I de­cided I had a pas­sion for swim­ming, and took it on full­time. Now I swim all year.”

Coombs men­tioned that his love of swim­ming is not the only thing that’s led him to such suc­cess with the sport. He noted that with­out the help of Ben­nettt, as well as peo­ple such as Leonard Roxon and Jim Lane, head coach and as­sis­tant coach for Team Indige­nous NL, as well as the head coach for PSC, Ju­nior Somers, he didn’t feel as though he’d be where he was to­day.

“I owe a lot to them, hon­estly. They’ve been a ma­jor help in all of this, and I don’t think I’d be nearly as good of a swim­mer, or ath­lete, with­out all that help.”

Coombs’ time in Toronto is one he says he’ll never for­get. Along­side be­ing his first na­tion­al­level swim­ming event, Coombs noted that the chance to see and ex­pe­ri­ence things such as the cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties in­volved in NAIG, as well as the chance to meet so many peo­ple and trade pins with swim­mers from across North Amer­ica, was well worth the time and ef­fort put into the sport.

“Over­all, it re­ally was a great time. I loved it.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Noah Coombs, 14, came home with four dif­fer­ent medals from his time at the North Amer­i­can Indige­nous Games 2017.

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