Former Decker Lake resident and para-swimmer Kyle McMahon made a splash in two swim meets last month.
He competed at the 2011 B.C. Long Course Swimming Championships held at Saanich Commonwealth Place from July 7 to 9, bringing home a gold and silver medal.
McMahon won the 50 metre butterfly event by clocking a time of just over 41 seconds. In the 100 metre free style he clocked a time of 1:23.67 to earn a second spot on the podium, and a silver medal.
“Winning the medals was a pleasant surprise because they weren’t won in my signature events,” he said to Lakes District News.
“Winning a gold medal in the 50 metre butterfly was a big surprise, considering that I usually have technical difficulties swimming that stroke.” He went on to say that throughout his career he has been struggling to keep his butterfly stroke legal. “Some attempts have been successful and others not so successful.”
“Through many attempts, I’ve now learned what I need to do to keep things legal. It just goes to show that when you have a difficulty in life, you don’t just forget about it or work your way around it. You work through it and conquer that mountain.”
He also recently switched swimming clubs in an effort to boost his future opportunities, moving from Victoria where he had been living with his grandfather, to Surrey.
“I switched from Island Swimming [in Victoria] to the Surrey Knights Swim Club. My grandfather and I made the move because we felt that it would hold better training opportunities for my swimming career in the future and especially going into the London Paralympic Games in 2012.”
McMahon most recently returned from the CAN-AM Para-Swimming Championships in Gatineau, Quebec from July 15-17 with another gold medal to his credit, coming in first in the 100 metre breaststroke.
“The times for these first two meets of the summer were okay, and pretty consistent considering that the whole team wasn’t shaved or tapered.” [tapered means a reduced schedule of training before a big event].
“We were training right through these meets.”
He is now gearing up to represent Canada at the 2011 Inaugural Para Pan Pacific Swimming Championships August 10-14, in Edmonton. This will be his final meet of the summer.
“We will be competing against swimmers from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.”
McMahon has only one wish for the up and coming championships.
It is that his family and friends from the local area could travel to Edmonton, all dressed in red and white to support him and his team mates on Team Canada. “The international competition is the closest one to Burns Lake so far, and it’s going to be the only international swimming competition on home soil in quite some time.”
After the championships he is looking forward to a two week summer vacation before diving head first into training for the up and coming 2012 paralympic swimming year.