Bay Roberts swimmer medals at Indigenous Games
Noah Coombs shares experience from North American Indigenous Games
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.”
Noah Coombs, 14, came home with four different medals from his time at the North American Indigenous Games 2017.