Faith Knelson, centre, seen here at the Canadian Swimming Championships last August is racing at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast starting on Thursday. (Submitted Photo)

Commonwealth Games: Ladysmith teen swimmer not intimidated by competition

Faith Knelson ranked top 8 in swims at Gold Coast competition

From West Coast to Gold Coast, Ladysmith swimmer Faith Knelson is proudly ready to compete for Canada as the Commonwealth Games get underway Thursday in Australia.

The 16-year-old was named to her first senior team after coming off multiple medals at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis last summer.

“To perform at a junior meet, I already have that under my belt and I know how to do that, but to perform at an international games is really exciting but then again it is nerve wracking,” she said.

“I’m hoping for a final swim and if all goes well maybe even a medal.”

Knelson, who swam with the Ladysmith Chemainus Orcas before moving to Victoria to train at the High Performance Centre, has posted strong results leading into the Games despite suffering a concussion at the Ontario Junior International meet in December.

Prior to the final of the 200 breaststroke, she had a head-on collision with a male swimmer in the warm up pool. The incident took her out of training for the better part of three weeks.

By the middle of January she was back in the pool and racing in Texas and later in Georgia.

Entering the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, where she’ll be rooming with Olympic gold medallist and best friend Penny Oleksiak, Knelson is ranked sixth in the 50 metre breaststroke and and eight in the 100 metre breaststroke.

In both events less than a second seperates the rookie phenom from those ranked in the medals despite her being the youngest swimmer on the block.

Finals and best times are well within her sites, but Knelson is also hungry for more.

“Standing up against all those girls who have gone to all those other international competitions and this being my first big senior stage, I don’t have anything to lose,” she said.

“If any of those girls that I’m racing are capable of getting a medal, well, I’m racing them and I’m capable of getting a medal too…it’s anybody’s game.”

She attributes a lot of her success to Victoria NextGen head coach Brad Dingey and High Performance Centre’s head coach Ryan Mallette.

“I believe that having a strong relationship with your coach can really help you move forward and I feel that’s been really beneficial for me,” she said.

Training alongside the likes of Rio Olympic bronze medallist Hilary Caldwell has also shown her what it takes to be among the best in the world.

“Seeing all the people that have been in the Centre before me, it’s quite humbling and it’s an advantage to see what these people do and what it takes to be one of the best in the world.”

Among the biggest gains Knelson has made over the past year has been in the gym where she’s seeing an increase in strength.

“Even a year ago I couldn’t even do a chin-up and now I do eight reps of four,” she said.

“I see how much effort is put into it and how much it takes and the weight room is just as important as the pool. When you’re a high performance athlete you don’t take time to celebrate your milestones, to celebrate the little things, but now when as I look back on practices and even in the gym, I ‘ve come quite a long way since my time in Ladysmith.”

Just Posted

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Paving complete, lines coming to the Malahat this week

$34 million safety project is 95 per cent complete with hope to relieve traffic congestion between Victoria and Nanaimo

UPDATE: Missing 77-year-old Barbara Munroe found safe

Shawnigan Lake RCMP are asking public to help find woman

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

Most Read