Christel Jensen is burning up the laps in the pool preparing for next week’s national Special Olympics Games set for July 7 to 13 at the University of British Columbia.
Jensen will compete in the 25m and 50m freestyle and 25m and 50m backstroke.
The process to qualify for the nationals has been an arduous one — a three-year process including regional qualifiers, provincials and more laps than she can count at both the Sechelt Aquatic Centre and Gibsons pool.
If she finishes high enough next week at UBC, a trip to the World Cham-pionships next July in Los Angeles would be next. But the 29 year old isn’t thinking past this step in her journey.
“I just want to beat my personal best times and strive to be better,” she said before a recent training session in Sechelt. “I enjoy the challenge of the swim competitions. I’m very excited for nationals. I just want to do my best.”
Jensen also plays softball, does track and field and is a member of club-fit here on the Coast with Sunshine Coast Special Olympics.
Besides the thrill of competition, Jensen also likes competing with her friends and making new ones at every competition.
Swim coach Marie Telder took over as local coach in February from Marilyn Adams. Both coaches said Jensen has all the ingredients to be successful.
“Her confidence and self-esteem have grown so much over the years. She feels good about herself, and that is huge for me,” Telder said.
“She is pretty determined and strives to do her best,” Adams added. “She’s also very committed, never fails to show up for practice. And she’s also a good athlete. She just took to swimming and always does well every time she competes.”
Jensen trains four times a week in the pool and in the gym. She also has a set exercise and diet plan at home.
“It’s almost a year round thing,” Telder said. “It’s a lot of training, but Christel really enjoys the challenge. We’re so proud of her and what she has already accomplished. When she puts her mind to it, she can do anything.”
© Coast Reporter