Elyssia McClean, Emme Abbs, Roxy Coatesworth and Katrina McClean get ready for a relay race in August.                                Photo Submitted

Elyssia McClean, Emme Abbs, Roxy Coatesworth and Katrina McClean get ready for a relay race in August. Photo Submitted

Golden Dolphins swimmer Abbs tops 20-year record at provincials

Emme Abbs is a sporty youth, applying her interests and skills to volleyball, basketball, soccer, track and field, and swimming.

Over the summer, she swam with the Golden Dolphins Swim Club, and beat a club record, set in 1999, at the provincial championships this year.

A minute and a half might not sound like much, but in the world of swimming, every millisecond counts. The record had been held for 20 years, and was set before Abbs was even born. At 15 years old, Abbs is a late joiner to the swim club. She began speed swimming with the Golden Dolphins Swim Club only four years ago, and has been enjoying it ever since.

In the B.C. Summer Swimming Association (BCSSA), it can be hard to tell who is practising year round. In Golden, the swimming pool is only open during the summer, and it is really the only opportunity the swimmers get to practise.

“It’s really really competitive,” Abbs said about the BCSSA. “You have to race against yourself.”

With each of her sports, Abbs puts in the effort to become the best she can be.

“I can put time and effort in practice to see improvement individually inside and outside of competitions, something that brings me a lot of joy,”Abbs said.

When she’s not practicing and competing, Abbs is studying and working hard at school. It’s not all about homework for Abbs though, she really enjoys socializing with her friends.

“It is also a great way to interact with peers, and to explore a variety of subjects,” she said.

Thanks to coaching at the pool this summer, Abbs has really upped her speed swimming game, and it has given her extra time to work with kids, which she has been enjoying.

“I have been coaching swimming this summer, and it has really increased my love for speed swimming and the swim community. It has also allowed me to work with kids to improve on a skill I am knowledgeable about and keen on,” Abbs said. “I have also been super pleased by tutoring this summer. Tutoring has increased my love for school, my appreciation for all that my teachers do, and my empathy for my classmates who struggle in class. I’m really looking forward to continuing to compete and work with children for swimming and academics next summer and throughout the year.”

Working with children brings Abbs joy, but she draws a lot of inspiration from the adults in her life. It was her mother who first suggested Abbs start speed swimming, after her and her brother were racing in the pool for fun.

The Golden Dolphins Swim Club coach, Nicholas Lapointe, has also encouraged Abbs to work on her skills and dedication in swimming and coaching to match his.

“I certainly share his love for both,” she said.

In the future, Abbs hopes to support adolescent sports, like her school coaches Heather and Brad Bokenfohr.

“They are great people and have always put a lot of time and effort in to make sure we have access to high quality sports teams, something that I respect completely,” she said. “I honestly just really look up to them and I think they are great role models, or they definitely have been to me.”

Many of Abbs’ teachers also make her list of great role models, which have taught her authenticity, kindness, unmatched effort, organization, wit, knowledge, conversation, out-of-the-box thinking, and more.

“The effort they put into their jobs to help people who aren’t always receptive amazes me and I don’t think I am even capable of it and it’s what I think makes them such good role models for me and everyone,” Abbs said.