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Local athlete returns from Masters National swimming competition

BY: AMY HOGUE

Go big or go home must be Krista Klassen’s personal philosophy; the 52-year-old Merrickville area resident is taking the swimming scene by storm after a 35-year hiatus, recently returning from a Canadian Masters’ National Competition in Montreal, and a World Competition last summer.

Klassen is no stranger to the pool, having swam and competed for the bulk of her childhood. She says she had been looking for an opportunity to get back into swimming for some time for health reasons.  When the Hub Pool & Recreation Centre opened, it was the opportunity Klassen had been waiting for.

“A year and a half ago I was on medication for back pain,” Klassen said in an interview, “But with swimming, the muscles strengthened, and it alleviated the need for medication.”

Because of her work schedule, Klassen said she’s unable to swim with the Masters who practice at the Hub pool, and instead is an affiliated member of Technosport in Ottawa, and competes as part of their club.  The Technosport Masters’ Coach, Duane Jones, was Klassen’s coach when she was only 12 years-old, and has been guiding her practices from afar since she began swimming again.

Klassen said when she first got back into swimming, she took it slow, doing no more than 1,200 or 1,600 metres with each practice, and only practicing a couple of days a week.  Even today, she said she only swims between two and three kilometres, four times a week.

“When I first started swimming again, I could only swim halfway across the pool underwater, now I can swim the whole length,” Klassen said, “My brain remembered what to do, but my muscles didn’t know how to do it.”

Klassen qualified for the 2014 World Competition at a time meet trial last year, where her times came in at the 50 per cent mark.  During the competition, Klassen said her event times were at the 30 per cent mark, indicating her improvement.

Competing in events like Nationals and Worlds is challenging, Klassen explained, because the length of the pool varies.  In May, Nationals were held in a 25-metre pool, Worlds in a 50-metre pool, and Klassen herself trains in a 20-metre pool.  Determining how well she will do at a meet is guesswork since her times will be affected by different factors related to the length of the pool.

“Times are hard to measure because of difference in pools,” Klassen explained, noting that the Smiths Falls pool has no diving blocks and is shorter than a typical 25-metre pool, which means more turns.

Klassen said she was thrilled to find she had personal bests with the majority of her times at Nationals in May, and improved over her time from the Worlds competition.  Her ranking for individual events were:  4th place for 100 metre breaststroke; 4th place for 50 metre breaststroke; 5th place for 100 Individual Medley (which includes four different strokes: freestyle, back, breast, and butterfly); sixth place for 50 metre freestyle; and seventh place for 50 metre butterfly, 100 metre backstroke and 100 metre freestyle.

“They were all personal bests, except the 100 back,” Klassen said, “I actually set goals after worlds, for the 50 breast, 100 breast and 50 free, and I matched every single time pretty much exactly.”

Klassen managed to slice five seconds off of her 100 breast event, improving from a 1:37 at Worlds, to a 1:32 at Nationals, which may not be surprising considering Klassen’s best stroke has always been the breaststroke.

Klassen said she would like to qualify for the upcoming Worlds, but has little hope of attending, since the 2015 will be held in Russia.  Her long term goals include attending a few meets each year and hopefully a Worlds event a little closer to home.  The 2016 Worlds will be held in New Zealand, and the 2017 event in Hungary, all places Klassen said she would love to travel to, if she were able.

“In two years I jump up to the next age category,” Klassen said, “I hope that’s when I can start doing well nationally and moving internationally . . . I can dream.”

Klassen credits staff at the Hub pool for their tremendous support throughout her training and competition, even going so far as to make a big sign in her honour when she returned from the Worlds competition last summer.

“The staff . . . They’re great here,” Klassen said, “Very supportive.”

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Local athlete returns from Masters National swimming competition

BY: AMY HOGUE

Go big or go home must be Krista Klassen’s personal philosophy; the 52-year-old Merrickville area resident is taking the swimming scene by storm after a 35-year hiatus, recently returning from a Canadian Masters’ National Competition in Montreal, and a World Competition last summer.

Klassen is no stranger to the pool, having swam and competed for the bulk of her childhood. She says she had been looking for an opportunity to get back into swimming for some time for health reasons.  When the Hub Pool & Recreation Centre opened, it was the opportunity Klassen had been waiting for.

“A year and a half ago I was on medication for back pain,” Klassen said in an interview, “But with swimming, the muscles strengthened, and it alleviated the need for medication.”

Because of her work schedule, Klassen said she’s unable to swim with the Masters who practice at the Hub pool, and instead is an affiliated member of Technosport in Ottawa, and competes as part of their club.  The Technosport Masters’ Coach, Duane Jones, was Klassen’s coach when she was only 12 years-old, and has been guiding her practices from afar since she began swimming again.

Klassen said when she first got back into swimming, she took it slow, doing no more than 1,200 or 1,600 metres with each practice, and only practicing a couple of days a week.  Even today, she said she only swims between two and three kilometres, four times a week.

“When I first started swimming again, I could only swim halfway across the pool underwater, now I can swim the whole length,” Klassen said, “My brain remembered what to do, but my muscles didn’t know how to do it.”

Klassen qualified for the 2014 World Competition at a time meet trial last year, where her times came in at the 50 per cent mark.  During the competition, Klassen said her event times were at the 30 per cent mark, indicating her improvement.

Competing in events like Nationals and Worlds is challenging, Klassen explained, because the length of the pool varies.  In May, Nationals were held in a 25-metre pool, Worlds in a 50-metre pool, and Klassen herself trains in a 20-metre pool.  Determining how well she will do at a meet is guesswork since her times will be affected by different factors related to the length of the pool.

“Times are hard to measure because of difference in pools,” Klassen explained, noting that the Smiths Falls pool has no diving blocks and is shorter than a typical 25-metre pool, which means more turns.

Klassen said she was thrilled to find she had personal bests with the majority of her times at Nationals in May, and improved over her time from the Worlds competition.  Her ranking for individual events were:  4th place for 100 metre breaststroke; 4th place for 50 metre breaststroke; 5th place for 100 Individual Medley (which includes four different strokes: freestyle, back, breast, and butterfly); sixth place for 50 metre freestyle; and seventh place for 50 metre butterfly, 100 metre backstroke and 100 metre freestyle.

“They were all personal bests, except the 100 back,” Klassen said, “I actually set goals after worlds, for the 50 breast, 100 breast and 50 free, and I matched every single time pretty much exactly.”

Klassen managed to slice five seconds off of her 100 breast event, improving from a 1:37 at Worlds, to a 1:32 at Nationals, which may not be surprising considering Klassen’s best stroke has always been the breaststroke.

Klassen said she would like to qualify for the upcoming Worlds, but has little hope of attending, since the 2015 will be held in Russia.  Her long term goals include attending a few meets each year and hopefully a Worlds event a little closer to home.  The 2016 Worlds will be held in New Zealand, and the 2017 event in Hungary, all places Klassen said she would love to travel to, if she were able.

“In two years I jump up to the next age category,” Klassen said, “I hope that’s when I can start doing well nationally and moving internationally . . . I can dream.”

Klassen credits staff at the Hub pool for their tremendous support throughout her training and competition, even going so far as to make a big sign in her honour when she returned from the Worlds competition last summer.

“The staff . . . They’re great here,” Klassen said, “Very supportive.”

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