National Paralympic swim team member Jonathan Dieleman started his journey in the Bulkley Valley Pool and so far it has taken him to international finals and medals. He is currently ranked third in the world in the 50 meter breaststroke.

Top swimmers home for the holidays

Paralympian and university star swimmers back and practising in the Smithers pool.

The Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre may not be the largest, most modern aquatic facility in the province but that does not matter. It somehow continues to produce top quality swimmers who go on to become excellent lifeguards and instructors.

And competitive swimmers.

Right now it’s home for the holidays for three of the area’s top swimmers.

Jonathan Dieleman started off as a rodeo enthusiast and then turned to swimming as a sport after a broken back left him in a wheelchair. He is currently at his highest ranking internationally with a third place in his top event, the 50-metre breaststroke.

While he generally trains with Richmond Rapids coach Rob Pettifer, he likes to spend time at his farm in Quick and while there continues to train at local facilities.

“I’ve got some pretty big goals. I’d like to be on the podium at the next Olympics,” he said.

He is joined by university twins Tanner and Bailey Espersen who have progressed to be among the top swimmers at their schools.

Tanner, who transferred to the University of South Dakota from his original school in Tennessee, said that his new coach has him racing the backstroke and medley swims and was looking forward to the conference championships coming up in the new year.

His transfer was necessitated by the original school’s dropping of his academic course of study. When this occurs, the athlete may transfer to another school which offers that study and can maintain any scholarship funding.

Bailey is currently ranked sixth in the 200-metre breaststroke. He has also qualified for Canadian University nationals in the 50 and 100-metre breaststroke races and is approaching school records in each breaststroke event. He feels that a spot on the podium will be a tough shot but that it is in the realm of possibility. He is also looking at the FISU (International University Sports Federation) games team as a longer term goal.

Both university swimmers will head out for school break training camps after Christmas.

sport@interior-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

14 arrested at blocked rail line in northern B.C., police say

But a Gitxsan hereditary chief says 14 were arrested, as fight over natural gas pipeline continues

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Temporary closure of field office not enough to meet demands

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read