Ecole Felix-Ricard
(May 2014)

A very natural athlete right out of the gate, Nina Kucheran recognized, pretty quickly, that there was something special going on when it came to swimming. "We were at a meet in Etobicoke in my second year, and I swam the 100m breaststroke," noted the 13 year old student at Ecole Felix-Ricard.

"When we finished, I had a good time, a personal best, but I didn't really know what was a good time. Then my coach came over and said that I missed provincials by 0.2 seconds," said Kucheran.

That ultra-rapid progression, in just over a year, proved to be a sign of things to come. As she completes her grade 8 studies as well as her sixth year of competitive swimming, Kucheran ranks among the very best in the country, in her age group, in the breaststroke.

It wasn't always this way. Accustomed to swimming lessons, but frustrated in not being able to move up the ladder quickly enough (she was too young to be moved ahead), Kucheran made a bee-line over to the Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club, immersing herself into competitive swimming at exactly the same time that older sister EmmyLou also joined the club.

A change in mindset would be needed. "Looking back, I barely knew how to swim," said Kucheran. "It was really hard for the first month or so. I was exhausted after every practice. But then you get used to it."

"You get better, and your endurance gets better, and the practices get easier." That said, competitive swimming is nothing if not a matter of extended repetition, building up mileage that can weigh on even the most determined young athlete, doing lap after lap while staring at the bottom of the pool.

Kucheran not only survives - she thrives in this environment. "I like doing things that I'm good at, and I'm good at swimming," she explained. "I like when I have a good race. For me, when I'm training, that's the motivation."

It seems to be working - big time. Qualifying for Age Group Nationals in three events in 2013, Kucheran had already hit five AGN standards before the end of the calendar year, targetting a goal of medalling at the countrywide meet some day.

Unfortunately, that type of single-minded goal setting comes at a cost. "I kind of want to do everything, so this is really hard," said Kucheran. "I like swimming, I like running, but I like volleyball a lot too. But I had to choose this year."

"Last year, I had the chance to do more sports, because I was in a lower level," Kucheran continued. "But I moved up a level this year." Representing St Dominique through to the end of grade six, the talented teenager still dons the Felix Ricard colours for cross country and track & field meets, where regular practice sessions do not conflict with her strict swimming regimen.

But as she targets the qualifying standard for Senior Nationals, an event where the age of the athlete is irrelevant, time outside the pool will become increasingly precious. And given her talent in the pool, one can hardly fault Nina Kucheran for maintaining her focus in the water.


Lea Lemieux - November 2020
Syla Swords - May 2020
James Bertrim - April 2020
Cale Bast - May 2019
Sydney Coe - May 2019
Nicholas Burke - September 2016
Adam Bertrand - September 2015
Madison Laberge - September 2015
Ariane Saumure - May 2015
Dario Beljo - June 2013
Noah LaPierre - July 2012
Tanner Horgan - June 2012
Kayla Folz - May 2012
Morgan Melnek - March 2012
Damien Giroux - February 2012
Adrian Kuchtaruk - June 2011
Ben Lagadin - May 2011
Kelsey Pitre - September 2010
Cedric Primeau - May 2010
Amanda Kring - May 2010
Malcolm Bilton - November 2009
Krysta Burns - July 2009
Samantha Cooper - April 2009
Bray Crowder - February 2009
Jenna Hellstrom - November 2008
Victor Hopper - October 2008
Jordyn Lacastro - June 2008
Lindsay Scruton - May 2008
Kasey Thompson - May 2007
Jacob Smith - April 2007
Danielle Coulombe - January 2007
Zakarie Glaude - December 2006
Spencer Burton - July 2006
Justin Leclair - April 2006
Matt Boivin - March 2006
Ryan Punkari - February 2006
Rebecca Mailloux - January 2006
Ross Proudfoot - October 2005
Mike McCue - July 2005
Cloe Lacasse - July 2005
Kristine Lalonde - June 2005
Scott Vaillancourt - May 2005
James Clendenning - May 2005
Erika Kiviaho - April 2005
Sammy Behnke-Groves - March 2005
Jaimee Lafraniere - January 2005
Trina Czerkas - January 2005
Danielle Rancourt - December 2004