Nicole The Athlete

I always tried to keep up with my brothers; whatever they were doing I wanted to do it too. I played their games of wrestling and pirate fighting. It used to frustrate me because they were so much faster and stronger than me but I never gave up!

I joined the track team, the speed swimming team and even the wheelchair basketball team. When I went to my first synchronized swimming practice I knew I had found my sport. It took a lot of effort for me to learn how to move my body the right way and keep my legs straight and my toes pointed. I also had to remember my entire routine and I had to do all of this in time with the music.

Eventually I began to travel to competitions across Canada. I have won almost 70 gold medals from regional, provincial and national events. In 2010 I travelled to Dusseldorf, Germany to do a demonstration swim of my solo. I did not need extra support at competitions so I stopped competing against athletes who have a disability at the Provincial level. I competed against 16 to 20 year old athletes. In 2011, I placed 6th in Ontario for synchronized swimming. I wanted to compete in an international event. I knew it would be challenging; but Challenge is my middle name!

I learned about the Down Syndrome Swimming Organization and I trained hard to achieve my goal. I went to Italy, with the Canadian Down syndrome swim team in 2012, for a synchronized swimming and speed swimming competition. I won the world gold medal for my solo in synchronized swimming. In speed swimming, I won 2 silver and three bronze medals internationally. In 2014, I travelled to Mexico. I won the world silver in synchronized swimming and in speed swimming I won two gold, 2 silver and one bronze international medal.

Unfortunately through the last few years doing synchro my health began to fail and I did not stop and take care of my body. I am finally starting to recover and build up my strength and endurance again. I am trying new sports like kayaking and last year I learned how to sail, which I love. I also show Patty Blue, a mini horse which is fun because I never know how Patty Blue will react. We are a team competing together.

I know that whatever I do in the future I will always be active because there is too much out there in life that I want to explore. I want to do it all, I want to try everything!