JAMES CLENDENNING
McLeod Public School
(May 2005)

There is no lack of reminders of the possibilities of Olympic dreams as 12 year-old James Clendenning takes to the pool at Laurentian University several times a week. The Grade six student at McLeod Public School is surrounded by testaments to the accomplishments of Alex Baumann, a double gold medallist at the 1984 Olympics.

Clendenning is one of a handful of young swimmers looking to restore the Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club to the prominence it once enjoyed. He started with swimming lessons at age five and three years later, moved to the club scene where he quickly progressed through the various levels.

While young swimmers continue to train in all four strokes, Clendenning has achieved his most notable success in the butterfly, medalling at the provincial championships. “It’s probably the toughest stroke and I think that’s part of the reason I like it” said Clendenning.

But swimming is just one part of his active athletic regimen that also sees the youngster competing in volleyball, basketball and soccer at the elementary school level, as well as playing with the Sudbury Juventini competitive soccer club. While he has hopes of cracking the regional soccer team roster, Clendenning admits swimming remains his number one sport.

“I’m really looking to meet the time standards to get to Club Nationals but that will be a challenge” says Clendenning, who notes that early morning practices might well form the most difficult hurdle to overcome. Thankfully, he doesn’t have to look far to draw motivation from an Olympic hero.

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