Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Great team spirit at Team BC 2018 Training Squad camps

23 January 2018

Members of the Team BC 2018 Training Squad have kicked off the year with hard work and high spirits! Training camps for seven sports were held in January, giving athletes important opportunities to practice their skills and pick up tips to help them be at their best for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Nova Scotia this July.

Training camps for 5- and 10- pin bowling, powerlifting, and rhythmic gymnastics were held in November, helping athletes get started on their goals for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships and National Games.

The first weekend of 2018 saw the athletics and swimming teams come together for their training camps in the Lower Mainland. Undaunted by the chilly winter weather, the athletics team hit the outdoor track at New Westminster Secondary School to work on their techniques and practice for their events.

Long-distance runner Kristina Tammark hopes to repeat her performance at the 2017 Special Olympics BC Summer Games and come home with three gold medals at her first National Games this summer. She says she “learned how to make herself a better runner” at the training camp, and now feels “even more excited about competing at National Games. … I can’t wait!”

Pictured above right: Team BC 2018 Training Squad track and field athletes giving it their all on the outdoor track in New Westminster

In Vancouver, the Team BC 2018 Training Squad swimming team was hard at work in the pool practicing their turns, starts, and relays.

Head Coach Nikki Apps said the swim team is “so pumped about National Games. Every athlete is training hard and we all can’t wait.”

This will be SOBC – Cowichan Valley athlete Courtenay Rekis’ third time competing in swimming at National Games, having previously represented her province at the Games in London, Ont., in 2010 and in Vancouver in 2014. Her goal is to achieve a personal best in Nova Scotia, and says the camp gave useful “information about what we need to work on, and some techniques to use in training.”

Both groups finished up the day with a session on mental training and competition preparation, as well as a yoga workshop to help athletes improve their flexibility and core strength.

More photos from the Team BC 2018 Training Squad athletics and swimming training camps

The following week was full of Team BC 2018 Training Squad action, with the golf and softball teams coming together for their camps in Victoria and the bocce and soccer teams travelling to Kelowna along with the B.C. Ogopogos basketball team.

In Victoria, golfers practiced their swing at the beautiful Olympic View Golf Course, later moving indoors to the Eagle Ridge Community Centre to work on their drive and chip shots in the centre’s arena.

The camp was the first time that many of the golf athletes and coaches had a chance to meet, and Mission Staff Arthur Pangilinan said that the group  “definitely bonded” over the two days and “left the weekend feeling like more of a team!”

Pictured above left: Team BC 2018 Training Squad golfers practicing their swing at the Olympic View Golf Course in Victoria

Both the B.C. Capitals and Vancouver softball teams spent the day at Eagle Ridge Community Centre working together on their batting techniques and pitching, and learning new fitness exercises.

“It was neat to see how far we've come as a team, and as individual athletes,” said B.C. Capitals softball player Adam Irwin-Gunn. “It makes me happy to see that all of us with different abilities are growing and showing our ability to play sports, just like any other person.”

This will be the first National Games for Irwin-Gunn and many other athletes and coaches on the B.C. Capitals softball team. Head Coach Nicole Bracewell says the team is feeling excited and “incredibly proud to travel to the East Coast and represent British Columbia.”

Over in Kelowna, bocce and soccer players were joined by the B.C. Ogopogos basketball team for sport-specific training sessions at Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary School, followed by group yoga to finish the day and informational meetings the next morning.

Pictured at right: The Team BC 2018 Training Squad soccer team practicing their skills in Kelowna

Bocce player Tony Wilkinson of SOBC – Kelowna says he now “feels more ready for Games” after his time at the camp. He was able to practice his skills and learned more about St. Francis Xavier University, where the Games will be taking place. He said he “feels excited and awesome” about representing his province in Nova Scotia. “Hopefully I will do my best, that’s all that matters,” Wilkinson said.

David Wilkinson, Tony’s father and Team BC bocce Head Coach, said the camp gave the team an important chance to practice with indoor bocce balls and develop strategies to improve their performances.

“This camp rekindled and built on the excitement and importance of going to Nationals and representing B.C. to the best of our abilities,” David Wilkinson said in an email.

Mission Staff Donna Bilous said there was great goal setting and team building for the soccer team over the weekend, who are “super excited about National Games and working hard to be at their best.”

For the B.C. Ogopogos basketball team, the weekend was an important opportunity to come together as a group both on and off the court. With players from Campbell River, Kamloops, Kelowna, Salmon Arm, and Vernon, the camp helped bring the team together as a unit to establish group goals and develop a clear vision for success at National Games.

“We are committed to being the best we can be,” Head Coach Leah Briault said. “Distance may separate us but we are committed to continue to be connected in creative ways through calls, technology, and various supports as a team.”

Pictured at left: The B.C. Ogopogos basketball team

More photos from the Team BC 2018 Training Squad bocce, golf, soccer, softball, and B.C. Ogopogos training camps

With the training camps now wrapped up and the Team BC 2018 Training Squad spirit kicked into high gear, athletes are on track to continue their training in their home communities. The skills and information learned over these two-day sessions will help athletes prepare over the coming months and be ready to shine at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships in May and the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in July.

Stay tuned for more Team BC 2018 Training Squad updates as they continue on their road to the East Coast!

Learn more about Team BC 2018

Learn more about the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships

Learn more about the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Games

Team BC 2018 Training Squad swimmers at their camp in Vancouver
Team BC 2018 Training Squad swimmers at their camp in Vancouver

This will be my 5th national games, having been to 4 others, 3 softball(Brandon 2006, London 2010,Vancouver 2014) and 1 Winter for Curling(2004 PEI) which the curlers in 2004 games, in Charlottetown, PEI were the first to attend a BCSO National games team training camp. I am most excited about competing, using my experience to show some leadership, and help make games experience easier for first time team members who have never been to a National Games; as there is a lot that can distract an athlete at games and learning to focus and not waste energy and still having fun and being a good role model for BSCO are key to success and maybe some medals maybe brought back home to British Columbia post games from all Team BC athletes!

Jeff Martin Wed, 2018-01-31 09:13

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2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships
Prince Edward Island
May 15 to 19

2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
July 31 to August 4