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Rebel wins three golds at Lloyd meet

By June 17, 2022No Comments
Lloydminster Rebels Swim Club member Jaiva Bajema made a big splash winning three gold medals in individual events at the Battle of the Border invitational meet at the Lloydminster BioClean Aquatic Centre on Saturday. About 45 Rebels took part with many of them on the podium. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

Jaiva Bajema takes to swimming like a duck to water.

The local teen has only been a member of the Lloydminster Rebels Swim Club for about a month and just won three golds at the Battle of the Border swim meet at the BioClean Aquatic Centre on Saturday.

The Grade 11 Holy Rosary High School student revealed her secret sauce after winning the 100m fly, 100m breaststroke and 100m freestyle.

“I did synchronized swimming and I would always see them practising and I wanted to try it out, so then I tried it out,” she said.

“I was not expecting this.”

Bajema was with the Stingrays synchronized swim team for more than 10 years and says swimming is way different.

“It’s really cool though,” she added.

Falon Willis, vice-president of the Rebels and the meet manager, says it’s really cool to see what kids like Bajema can do.

“It’s a really good example of how aquatic sports can support each other,” she said.

“We have the potential for a really big aquatics program in our city when our clubs all work together.”

Bajema will suit up with the Rebels at another competition this weekend, setting her sights on the regionals in August to qualify for provincials.

The Lloyd meet attracted about 120 swimmers from age 7 to 17 from the Edmonton area, Wainwright, Provost, Vermilion, Fort Saskatchewan, Camrose and Wetaskiwin.

“There’s that apprehension with COVID ending about doing events, so this is one of the first. It’s a pretty good turnout,” said Rebels coach Cory Totman at the pool.

He brought about 45 Rebels to the meet.

“They’ve done well. We’ve had a couple of swimmers that have won first so far. We’re looking to get a number of medals today.”

Willis says it’s really exciting to have a lot of clubs participating.  

“We have lots of brand new swimmers who maybe joined that season when COVID started, so we have a lot of kids who have never got to compete in a meet before. So it’s a really fun time to have everyone together in the pool,” she said.

Totman credits the stellar performance of a swimmer like Bajema to her just being a naturally talented athlete.

“That’s all there is to it. She’s a naturally good swimmer and she’s an easy-to-coach kid, which is really nice as well,” said Totman.

“I couldn’t be prouder. I think she’ll go quite far in swimming if she sticks with it.”

For her part, Bajema says Totman is very motivating and it pushes her to work hard.

“I really enjoy it. He’s a really good coach. He really helps me with my technique. He really knows what he’s talking about,” she said.

“Of course, I have lots of ways to improve, that’s why I keep going to practice.”

The swimmers and Totman also gave a shout-out to all the parents who were on hand to volunteer at the meet.