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County swimmer captures Commonwealth bronze medal

Posted on October 30, 2013 by Sunny South News

When Merel Krosse packed up her bags and headed for Australia last month she didn’t believe for a moment she had a chance of bringing home a medal from the Commonwealth Lifesaving Championships.

But that is exactly what happened. As a member of Canada’s development team she won a bronze medal. To place third out of 10 development teams in the competition, she was thrilled.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all.”

The Canadian team took fourth place overall in the main part of the competition.

“That was pretty exciting.”

The Grade 12 student at Picture Butte High School took the month of September away from her studies to compete in the Sept. 4 to 8 championships in Canberra and then toured Australia with her mom, Jacqueline. Because she is still 16, until Nov. 29, she had to have a chaperon on the trip which meant her mom was able to be part of the experience with her.

“It was really nice, we did all the tourist stuff.”

She said it was just going into spring in Australia so the weather was in the 20s the whole time they were there.

“It was so nice.”

In one of her events, Krosse placed second in the preliminary round but didn’t have a good final round. While she felt bad about that she said winning the bronze medal as a team helped her feel better.

She said most of the athletes who competed in the championship are experienced and have competed at world events before. She was able to practice with the team ahead of the championships and she learned a lot from that experience.

She is now sharing that experience as a coach of nine to 12 year olds in Lethbridge.

“It’s good to share some knowledge and experience with them.”

Looking back on the championships she said she can’t believe how well she handled such a major competition. Once she was behind the block she was only thinking about her race and nothing else.

“I get nervous before races,” she admits and she was concerned it might impact her performance in Australia but she was surprised at how she was able to focus.

Next year the Lifesaving championships shift to France for the World event which will involve even more teams from countries around the globe.

“It will be amazing.”

Now that she has been on the Canadian development team she says they know her and they know what she can do which increases her chances of making the team next year. As a 17 year old she will still qualify for the youth team and chance to compete in France.

So this year she will be juggling school, training and work.

“The car and the phone aren’t going to pay themselves.”

In addition to her swim club training she also works out three mornings a week. She will ramp up her training in the summer when school is out of the way.

“That will be a weight off my shoulders,” she said of her graduation come spring.

Her goal is to compete at the Worlds in France next year. She has applied to attend Lethbridge College next fall in general studies as she ultimately seeks to study abroad.

She said if her swimming can help her out with her school along the way, “that would be awesome”.

Looking back on her Australian trip, Krosse said being with her mom was a different experience than being at home together.

“A couple of years ago I definitely never thought I’d be here but I’ll take it.”

She said her family has been very supportive. She said the time difference was a little tricky, making it hard to keep in touch with them back home nut they managed.

She also noted local businesses were supportive of her fundraising efforts which allowed her to cover $4,000 of the cost of attending the championships. She said she appreciates the support of everyone in the community including the local Lions and Elks Club along with several area businesses who provided financial support.

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