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Sunday, May. 19, 2019
Josee Seguin qualifies for nationals in a second sport
by Randy Pascal

First, Josée Seguin headed west, travelling to the prairie provinces and beyond as she twice qualified for the Special Olympics National Summer Games, competing in swimming on both occasions.

This week, the 27 year-old Sudburian is in Antigonish (Nova Scotia), part of the Ontario brigade once again, but leaving the pool aside in order to perform in her remaining passion, the sport of power-lifting.

"We do bench (press), squat and dead-lift," said Séguin. "My best is dead-lift. I have to work on bench because I have a tendency to do like a "fly" (a butterfly stroke in swimming) when I do bench press, an up and over motion."

"My power-lifting training helps with my strokes, in swimming, for sure." A ten year veteran of the local Special Olympics circuit, Séguin was most looking forward to reuniting with three fellow power-lifters from northern Ontario, a troika with whom she attended provincials back in 2016.

"Seeing my teammates from Timmins is most exciting," she said. "Just hanging out and getting to chill with them. They give me hints, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't."

Guiding through her final stages of preparation, in recent months, was former Laurentian Voyageurs' varsity women's hockey forward Emma Léger. "This was kind of an opportunity to get my feet wet with something else," said Léger. "It's been really a great experience."

As luck would have it, their once a week practice sessions were scheduled for Thursday evenings, always on the heels of a fully loaded day of classes for the L.U. Sport & Physical Education major.

"I didn't always feel like coming out for practice, but I always left feeling re-energized," said Léger. "I think it's the pure joy of life and simplicity of life that a lot of these individuals have. It's beautiful, and it's something I think we forget in our daily lives. It's a great reminder to stay in touch with that side of things."

Though she has worked with Séguin only since October of 2017, Léger suggested it's not hard to see why the spirited young woman has enjoyed some success. "She's got a level of competitiveness, within herself, an innate capability to push herself harder, to work really hard, to set goals intrinsically. She works towards those goals, in and out of the gym."

At least one of Séguin's goals has far more to do with sharing her athletic passion with others. "There are not a lot of females that do power-lifting," she said. "I feel there should be more that get involved. It's not just a guy sport. They should go and try it."

And who knows, perhaps they will also end up earning the chance to compete against the very best in the country, just like Séguin. The local lifter will compete on Wednesday and Thursday, with the Games set to run from July 31st (Opening Ceremonies) right through to August 4th.

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