Mak­ing a splash

Moun­tie spot­light is on Katya Parker

Sackville Tribune - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Katya Parker

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