JUSTIN LECLAIR
Ecole Catholique St Therese
(April 2006)

Being a self-motivated young athlete can be a huge bonus for long-term development and few appear as focused as Valley East Waves swimmer Justin Leclair. The Grade 7 student at Ecole Catholique St. Therese has clearly made a splash on the provincial scene since first starting with the local club six years ago.\

From a modest start which saw the Hanmer youngster struggle to complete 15 laps in five minutes as an introduction to competitive training, Leclair has progressed to now having his sights set on a trip to Nationals.

“It took me a little while to get used to doing really fast training” said Leclair, who noted that the benefit hit him suddenly, “almost like a big “ding” in the head”, he laughs. After a short stint with the pre-competitive Junior Waves program, Leclair made the move to a more challenging level at age seven with a definite comfort for increased competitiveness.

“I remember being at provincials a few years back and finally beating swimmers that I knew were really fast” explained Leclair. Although the current emphasis in swimmer development calls for progression in all four strokes, Leclair admits that his favourite event is definitely the 200m freestyle.

“I’m a sprinter…I like sprinting in major events” noted Leclair, who is currently just four seconds away from hitting the qualifying standard for short-course nationals in the 200m freestyle discipline. “I’m getting better at the butterfly – I can do all four strokes and my backstroke gives me a chance to catch up in some races.” Leclair captured first place in the 100m individual medley at provincials in 2005.

With aspirations of some day making it to the Olympic Trials, the talented 12 year-old is very much at ease in the water, perhaps even moreso than outside the water at times. “Sometimes I get nervous before a race. But when you get in the water, then it’s gone and I can just swim.”

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