Sylvan Lake swimmer Marshal Parker came home from the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Quebec earlier this month with a much heavier suitcase than when he left.
He brought home silver medals in 4×200 free relay, 4×100 free relay and 4×50 free relay, before earning gold in 4×50 medley relay.
After coming second three times, winning gold was a huge relief, he said. The feat, he feels, was the highlight of the competition for him.
“It was my last race to get it, and everything just went perfect,” said the 17-year-old, who swims with Catalina Swim Club in Red Deer. “I already had three silver, and I was getting a little angry.”
Parker arrived in Montreal two weeks prior to the start of the games and took part in other competitions in the area. Although he admitted he didn’t do “as great as I would have wanted”, those competitions, he feels, helped him prepare for the summer games.
His recent training schedule, which saw him swim in Red Deer nine times a week, also contributed to his success.
“I’ve been just pretty much working my heart out and it’s really nice when everybody pushes you in practice,” he said. “I couldn’t do it without all of my coaching and my parents.”
Despite the competitive nature of the summer games, Parker said he had “lots of fun” participating.
After swimming competitively for about seven years, he’s now ready to take the next step in his career, and will soon relocate to Vancouver, where he will train with elite swimmers.
He described the move as being both exciting and nerve-wracking.
“I’m a little nervous, but it should be pretty fun,” he said.
The prospect of continuing his participation in the sport he loves is what he is looking forward to most.
“I just like the atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody around is just really supportive and it just makes you feel really good.”