© Heather Taweel
Hannah MacLellan enjoyed her recent trip to Florida to compete
at the Can-Am international para-swimming competition.
“Not even close,” says Hannah MacLellan with a big smile after being asked if she won any of her events at the 2014 Can-Am international para-swimming event recently in Miami, Fla.
The 14-year-old Pownal native attended her first meet at that level and it featured many of the best para-swimmers from Canada, the United States and the world.
In Miami, MacLellan, who has cerebral palsy, competed against athletes with the same level of disability in what’s known as S5.
The Pownal native is the first Island para-swimmer to qualify for an international event and was one of the youngest in the outdoor pool in Miami, though neither were major hindrances considering she set personal-bests in 50-metre breaststroke (1:28) and 200-metre freestyle (9:10).
Last year, she set her previous personal best in 200-metre freestyle at the 2013 Summer Canada Games.
She was gunning for a new time in the 100-metre breaststroke in Florida, somewhere around 3:07, but finished in a time of 3:16.
That 3:07 mark could have qualify her for other international para-swimming events like the Pan-Pacifics and the worlds later this year.
But it was a good test of where she stands, said MacLellan, and where she wants to go.
“I learned how much rest I need,” she said. “I’d like to take five seconds off my 100-metre breaststroke.”
MacLellan trains four times a week as a member of the Charlottetown Bluephins Aquatic Club and has swam competitively for four years. She’s supported by ParaSport and Recreation P.E.I.
In Miami, part of the education process was coping with travel, swimming at a high level for three consecutive days and conserving energy, which MacLellan’s coach, Edie Rogers, said her charge learned much about.
“It takes a lot energy to be a disabled swimmer. She learned how to pace herself,” said Rogers.
The next international event for MacLellan is a Can-Am event in Edmonton in December.
And she beams out another great smile when asked if she can lower her 100-metre breaststroke time before then.
“I hope,” she says.
For more on swimming with a disability, contact ParaSport and Recreation P.E.I. at www.parasportpei.ca or 902-368-4540.