Faith Knelson, centre, seen here at the Canadian Swimming Championships last August is racing at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast starting on Thursday. (Submitted Photo)

Commonwealth Games: Ladysmith teen swimmer not intimidated by competition

Faith Knelson ranked top 8 in swims at Gold Coast competition

From West Coast to Gold Coast, Ladysmith swimmer Faith Knelson is proudly ready to compete for Canada as the Commonwealth Games get underway Thursday in Australia.

The 16-year-old was named to her first senior team after coming off multiple medals at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis last summer.

“To perform at a junior meet, I already have that under my belt and I know how to do that, but to perform at an international games is really exciting but then again it is nerve-wracking,” she said.

“I’m hoping for a final swim and if all goes well maybe even a medal.”

Knelson, who swam with the Ladysmith Chemainus Orcas before moving to Victoria to train at the High Performance Centre, has posted strong results leading into the Games despite suffering a concussion at the Ontario Junior International meet in December.

Prior to the final of the 200 breaststroke, she had a head-on collision with a male swimmer in the warm up pool. The incident took her out of training for the better part of three weeks.

By the middle of January she was back in the pool and racing in Texas and later in Georgia.

Entering the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, where she’ll be rooming with Olympic gold medallist and best friend Penny Oleksiak, Knelson is ranked sixth in the 50 metre breaststroke and and eight in the 100 metre breaststroke.

In both events less than a second separates the rookie phenom from those ranked in the medals despite her being the youngest swimmer on the block. Finals and best times are well within her sites, but Knelson is also hungry for more.

“Standing up against all those girls who have gone to all those other international competitions and this being my first big senior stage, I don’t have anything to lose,” she said. “If any of those girls that I’m racing are capable of getting a medal, well, I’m racing them and I’m capable of getting a medal too…it’s anybody’s game.”

She attributes a lot of her success to Victoria NextGen head coach Brad Dingey and High Performance Centre’s head coach Ryan Mallette.

“I believe that having a strong relationship with your coach can really help you move forward and I feel that’s been really beneficial for me,” she said.

Training alongside the likes of Rio Olympic bronze medallist Hilary Caldwell has also shown her what it takes to be among the best in the world.

“Seeing all the people that have been in the Centre before me, it’s quite humbling and it’s an advantage to see what these people do and what it takes to be one of the best in the world.”

Among the biggest gains Knelson has made over the past year has been in the gym where she’s seeing an increase in strength.

“Even a year ago I couldn’t even do a chin-up and now I do eight reps of four,” she said.

“I see how much effort is put into it and how much it takes and the weight room is just as important as the pool. When you’re a high performance athlete you don’t take time to celebrate your milestones, to celebrate the little things, but now when as I look back on practices and even in the gym, I ‘ve come quite a long way since my time in Ladysmith.”

Just Posted

Four generations of Vancouver Island logging and mining stories in one show

Nanaimo’s John Gogo will share regional stories, family history and song in his latest project

Cineplex to show free holiday movies to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Community Day will be on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at select theatres

Man discovers hidden corners of the city while cycling every street in Victoria

Cyclist maps progress while taking on 2019 goal to cover every street with road sign

Victoria owl tangled in net for two days faces long road to recovery

Barred owl rescued by Victoria Animal Control, taken to Wild ARC

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read