‘The turn­around was amaz­ing’

The Labradorian - - SPORTS -

As as­sis­tant coach, Ride­out had to do what­ever was needed dur­ing train­ing ses­sions. This in­cluded help­ing swim­mers with their me­chan­ics and their work­out rou­tine.

One time, he and an­other as­sis­tant even had to run a prac­tice when Brad Hut­ton was un­avail­able.

“I just fit in wher­ever pos­si­ble,” says Ride­out.

The team started train­ing in early July in prepa­ra­tion for the Sum­mer Games.

The first train­ing ses­sion was in St John’s and took place be­tween July 9 and 11. Just a few days later, they flew out to Mon­treal for a sec­ond ses­sion. Ride­out said that hav­ing ev­ery­body travel to Mon­treal for train­ing was ben­e­fi­cial to the team. “It built team spirit,” said Ride­out. The train­ing ses­sions were bru­tally ex­haust­ing on the teenage ath­letes. They trained five hours a day, for one week straight. Some of the swim­mers from smaller clubs, who don’t get to swim and train as much as some­one from St. John’s, were dead tired and sore at the end of the week.

“One guy told me it’s the hard­est thing he’s ever done in his life,” noted Ride­out.

But the hard train­ing seemed to in­still a pos­i­tive men­tal­ity amongst the young swim­mers.

One week af­ter Mon­treal, they had an­other train­ing ses­sion in St. John’s, and Ride­out was pleas­antly sur­prised by his team’s new spirit and pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.

“When I went back to St. John’s, the turn­around was amaz­ing,” said Ride­out, with a large grin.

The team be­came close to one an­other, with a good group dy­namic. And Ride­out is joy­ful when re­flect­ing on his team’s over­all suc­cess at the Games this sum­mer.

Ac­cord­ing to Ride­out, this year’s swim­mers set 17 Canada Games pro­vin­cial records, and many swim­mers broke their pre­vi­ous per­sonal best times.

Like ev­ery­body else in New­found­land and Labrador, Ride­out was thrilled when 18 year-old Owen Daly won a sil­ver medal in the 50-me­tre but­ter­fly. It was Canada’s first medal of the en­tire games.

“I got pretty welled up. I al­most cried on the deck,” re­calls Ride­out. “I get ex­cited just talk­ing about it.”

Another proud mo­ment for Ride­out came dur­ing the 4x50 freestyle re­lay race. The team fin­ished fourth, just a cou­ple sec­onds back of get­ting a bronze medal. What made the mo­ment spe­cial was how the team went above and be­yond ex­pec­ta­tion for the fi­nals.

Ac­cord­ing to Ride­out, there was one young man in par­tic­u­lar who rose to the oc­ca­sion and swam the race of his life.

“This guy had to drag him­self out of the pool,” says Ride­out. “That kid de­served it. He worked hard, gave it all he had.”

For Ride­out, the Canada Games was an ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time and it will help him this year when he once again takes up his coach­ing du­ties with the Melville Man­tas swim club this fall.

“It’s eye- open­ing to see the amount of time and ef­fort it takes to make the Canada Games team.”

derek. mon­tague@ the­labrado­rian. ca

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