Amherst swimmers headed up the St. Lawrence River

Dave Mathieson
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Amherst swimmers will soon find pools of inspiration when they travel to the Olympic Trials being held in Montreal at the Olympic Pool from April 1 to 6.

"In September I knew the trials would be in Montreal and I told the swimmers if there was any possible way we could go, then we would go - and the pieces fell into place," 6th year Spartans Swim coach Jan Matthews said.

A chartered bus will carry 15 swimmers plus parents to the event, for a total of 25 people.

The swimming events are sold out to capacity so the team will be in the stands with 2,000 screaming spectators.

"It will be great for the Spartans to be a part of that," Matthews added.

They will attend the final Sunday of the trials and Matthews said she expects the National Olympic Team will be presented to the audience after the final event.

"We'll go from watching them live to watching them on TV at the Olympics."

Besides cheering on the 13 Nova Scotia swimmers who will compete in the trials, Matthews said they would be keeping a close eye on Ian Brown of Perth, Ontario.

"Perth is about the size of Amherst and they have a small swim club like ours," Matthews said. "You always here about the powerhouse clubs from Metro Toronto, Calgary or B.C., so it's kind of exciting to see someone who came from a small town and small swimming club making it to the trials."

She says many of her swimmers dream about Olympic glory but it's important for them to break their goals down into increments.

"Saying you are going to the Olympics when you are 22 or 26 is a long way off, so it's important to keep chasing smaller goals."

She hopes the trip will help the swimmers remain focused.

"Hopefully it will give them a little bit of inspiration to say, 'OK, maybe I'll work a little harder. Maybe I'll try to get the provincial A time or maybe I'll try to get my East Coast qualifying time," Matthews said.

She said the best part about the sport of swimming is that everyone gets to participate, "Nobody sits on the bench."

"Everyone gets to compete, everyone gets to try, everybody's effort is celebrated," Matthews said. "The emphasis is on approving your time, it's about individual achievement."

Organizations: Olympic Pool, National Olympic Team

Geographic location: Amherst, St. Lawrence River, Montreal Perth Nova Scotia Ontario Calgary East Coast

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