Making a splash
Mountie spotlight is on Katya Parker
Third-year Mount Allison breaststroke specialist Katya Parker is enjoying success in the pool and is eyeing a spot at the national university championship in February.
Third-year swimming Mountie Katya Parker says her day doesn’t feel complete unless she’s hit the pool.
She began swimming competitively in Grade 6 after starting lifeguard training. It became a big part of her life throughout high school, as she trained every day at 5:30 a.m. and for another two hours after school.
“I fell in love with it,” she says. With the Windsor Essex Swim Team, she earned her first provincial times at 14 and qualified for her first Eastern championships at 16, competing at those levels each year after that.
“One of my most memorable moments was when I made Easterns for the first time,” she says. “I was racing against Olympic athletes and that was mind-blowing to me. It was the first time I thought that maybe I could be good at this.”
When choosing a university, Parker followed the recommendation of her chemistry teacher Benjamin Cooper (’05) and also continued a family tradition. She is a third-generation Allisonian. Her grandmother Jacqueline (Moller) Maharaj (’61), grandfather Deodath Maharaj (’60), and mother Jacqueline (Samlalsingh) Parker (’89) all attended Mount Allison.
Coming from a small high school, she was looking for a smaller school that would allow her to keep swimming competitively, while also balancing being a student first. A breaststroke specialist, she competes in the 50m, 100m, and 200m distances.
“Always being a breaststroker helps with my drive as a student athlete, knowing what I want to focus on for my university career,” she says.
With the Mounties, Parker swims every day with morning swim workouts Monday and Friday, workouts in the gym two mornings a week, plus two hours in the pool every evening and Saturday mornings.
“It is very relaxing to be in the water and I have always found that,” she says. “Swimming has helped me keep in shape, make friends, and manage my time. My GPA is always better during swim season.”
Just a few weeks ago, Parker earned her first win with the Mounties in the 50m breaststroke in a meet at Acadia. Her ultimate goal is to earn a spot at the U SPORTS national championships.
A third-year honours biochemistry student, she is also involved in SMILE, teaches swim lessons, tutors, and runs the weekly START sessions for science students.
Parker plans to pursue medical school after graduation.