Ladysmith area athletes going for gold

Five Ladysmith area residents are ready to give it their all at the BC Summer Games in Surrey.

Of the 3,000 athletes and coaches set to participate in this week’s BC Summer Games in Surrey, five Ladysmith area residents are ready to give their all.

Representing Zone 6 (Vancouver Island/Sunshine Coast) are competitive swimmer Maria De Leeuw, synchronized swimmer Paige Wilson, track and field athlete Rachel Jerome, basketball player Maximillian Cummings (who was unable to be contacted by press time) and equestrian team head coach Deborah Fox.

The BC Summer Games take place over four days, starting Thursday, in 20 different sports at venues across Surrey.

For many of the athletes, such as 12-year-old Paige Wilson of Cedar, the Games will be the experience of a lifetime and a taste of the Olympic dream.

“I’m so excited but so nervous at the same time,” she said. “I just want to make sure I know what I’m doing — I want to count to my music and be as close as I can on count.”

Wilson has been a synchronized swimmer with the Nanaimo Diamonds for almost four years and was one of 10 athletes in the zone selected via competition in the fall to compete.

Synchronized swimming is a form of swimming where dance and gymnastics are combined in teams, solos, duets or trios. The groups are accompanied by music while they perform a routine in sync in the deep end of a pool. During “figures,” athletes are marked on poses that they perform for the judges, and those marks are tallied into the team’s final score, Wilson explained.

“I stuck to it because I like dancing and I like swimming,” she said. “I love going to competitions; it’s really exciting and it’s fun.”

After the Summer Games are over, Wilson plans to set her sights on trying out for the Diamonds’ national team.

“I’m looking forward to having a good experience,” she said of the Games.

For Rachel Jerome, who was featured in the May 29 edition of the Chronicle, the Games are a culmination of the effort she has put into her track and field training over the last year.

“I’ve been training up for this, and this is what I’ve been waiting for,” she said. “I’m really pumped.”

This week, Jerome will compete in long jump, triple jump and 100-metre sprints, and she is excited at the chance to surpass her personal best records.

“I feel like I’m peaking at the right time, and my coaches are playing it smart,” she said. “It feels good.”

Equestrian coach Deborah Fox has been involved with every BC Summer Games since her own daughter competed back in 1998.

Fox is a certified Equine Canada (EC) Level 2 dressage coach who has been awarded nationally by EC and provincially by the BC Horse Council. She teaches at her farm in Ladysmith and travels the Island to coach as well.

As head coach, she will be responsible for Zone 6’s five equestrian participants, who are competing in dressage, jumping and para-dressage.

When asked what motivates her to be involved with the Games for so many years, Fox concurred that the youths’ experience is invaluable and goes beyond the moments of competition.

“It made a big impact on my daughter when she went … It’s not just about the horses and the horse show. To go there, they have to work for it,” she said. “I [tell them] ‘you’re here for a reason, and cream will always rise to the top.’”

More information about the BC Summer Games can be found here.

Just Posted

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley was passed up for a cabinet position by Premier John Horgan. (Photo submitted)
Op-Ed: Modernizing forestry and prioritizing reconciliation

Doug Routley writes on Fairy Creek and Central Walbran Valley old growth deferrals

The log retaining wall that supports the access road to the Ladysmith Community Marina is failing and needs to be replaced. (Cole Schisler photo)
Remediation work for community marina access road expected to be costly

A log retaining wall between the access road and the parking area is failing and must be replaced

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Ladysmith Harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water harbour, none of them threatening

More and more graffiti has appeared in Ladysmith’s downtown core during the pandemic. (Cole Schisler photo)
Council creates rebate program to encourage graffiti clean up

Property owners can receive up to $50 to help fund graffiti removal

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read