By Cecilia Nasmith
Sixteen-year-old Abby Teno of Port Hope was at the recent Ontario Youth Junior Championships June 27 to 30 in Brantford at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre and did – as Northumberland Aquatic Club head coach Trish MacNeil put it – a phenomenal meet.
MacNeil listed five medals just to start – gold in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke, with silver in 200 IM (this stands for Individual Medley, a routine that showcases proficiency in a prescribed variety of strokes) and bronze in 100 backstroke. She also placed 7th in 100 freestyle.
“She achieved some personal-best times and qualified in five events for the Eastern Canadian Championships,” MacNeil continued.
“Abby also won the high point award for 16-and-over girls.”
Good performances were also turned in by other club members. MacNeil added - Jack Stratford, Mackenzie Ross, Megan and Rebecca Jones.
“Abby is a pleasure to coach. She comes prepared to all practices and meets and works extremely hard. She is also an instructor in our swim school program,” the coach said.
Rigorous training played a part, Abby said a few days after the meet, but she's also benefiting from a new attitude.
“I have learned that, mentally, I need to have fun. I have been way too critical on myself, put on a lot of pressure. I need to relax and have fun with it more,” she explained.
The daughter of proud parents Terry and Robin Teno, Abby has always loved swimming. But her big sister Sarah – a member of the Northumberland Aquatic Club – inspired her to take it a step further, join the club and get competitive.
Ten years later, Abby is still with the club. Sarah remains with the club, as well, as a coach.
The competitive edge hasn't abated, Abby said, sharing her goal of competing nationally. She is edging ever closer to those all-important qualifying times.
It's not just that seconds matter, she said. Tenths of a second matter - and she will keep whittling away at them.