Before she could walk, UNB swimmer Kaitlyn Young was in the pool learning how to swim.
Inspired by her father Graham Young – who was also a swimmer for UNB – Young entered the pool before her first birthday.
“I was always swimming and found that I was good at it,” said Young.
Hanging above the pool where she practices is a banner of local swimmer Marianne Limpert – a four-time Olympian and the 1996 silver medalist in the 200-metre. With such experience and success, Limpert has become an inspiration for Young and many other swimmers from the Fredericton community.
“She’s a small town girl from Fredericton and she made it,” said Young. “She was a great Olympian – definitely my hero.”
Achieving success of her own, Young recently competed in the Atlantic University Sport finals at Memorial University in Newfoundland. Though she already qualified for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championships, Young hit Atlantics with a bang winning a total of seven medals – one gold, five silver and a bronze.
As she continues to compete, Young has a few tricks up her sleeve that keep her going.
“I’m extremely superstitious when it comes to swimming,” said Young. “If I have success with a certain bathing cap or pair of goggles on, I won’t change them [and] if I do a certain thing in practice and beat a time, I’ll always do that certain thing again.”
Outside of practice, competitions and working towards her kinesiology degree, Young is very involved in the community. She coaches the Capital Region Special Olympic Swim Team, volunteers for the opal youth group, which looks after youth with disabilities, she teaches Sunday school for grade two students and she sits as a member of the UNB Fredericton Athletes Council.
Though she has a lot to do in the course of a week, Young says she likes it better this way.
“I actually find it more tough when I don’t have practice, when my schedule is all out of whack,” said Young. “When I have that hour or two to swim in the morning and at night, it gives me a break from thinking.”
With the upcoming CIS championships in Toronto from Feb. 20 to 22, Young has prepared herself physically and mentally for the competition.
“It’s CIS, yes, but at the end of the day it’s just you in the pool with a time competing against yourself.”