Kassua Dreyer put her fear of open water aside and competed in her first out-of-pool swimming competition at the B.C. Open Water Swimming Championships in Kamloops.
The 12-year-old, who is normally afraid of underwater plants, finished seventh in the 12-and-under one-kilometre event at Shuswap Lake.
The event was also the longest she’d ever raced. Dreyer’s longest race in the pool is the 800 free.
Dreyer got herself into a good position off the start – in the middle of the pack – but had trouble staying with the lead group.
“The first couple strokes in any race are the easiest, because they’re full of energy,” she said.
Her first time racing in a lake, she said the open water was a little disorienting. After 10 strokes, she said she was already heading in the wrong direction.
But the Glacier Bear, who will be attending a specialized sport school in Germany this fall, said she really enjoyed the race.
“It was a good experience,” she said.
Conditions were smokey and sighting off the buoys was difficult for her teammate, Rennes Lindsay, who competed in the 13-14 year-old two-kilometre event.
Lindsay recently took in an open-water swimming camp in Kelowna and had been dreading the anticipated cold of the Shuswap.
The water temperature turned out to be not so bad.
From the rope start about 100 metres off the beach, Lindsay tried to stay with the lead group. As the air horn went off, she got herself in position in third place.
“You never want to lead the pack,” she said.
But as the race went on, the lead group slipped away. As she swam her second loop of the course, she found herself drafting with another competitor, a skill she’d picked up at the swim camp, but had been unable to employ until the race.
She finished seventh.
Dreyer will join Lindsay and her sister Cassis, along with four other swimmers at the North American Indigenous Games next week.