"After watching Mark Tewksbury win the 100 backstroke in Barcelona, I turned to my mother and said I want to try swimming." A brief five years after that race, Kelly Stefanyshyn finished second in the 100 backstroke here to earn a berth on her first ever Canadian team. Since making finals in the 200 back at her first nationals last summer, the 15-year-old Winnipeg swimmer has been improving ever since.
In a very exciting finish, Kelly passed two swimmers in the second length of the 100, and was closing fast on the winner, Erin Gammel. "I usually have the fastest second 50 and I am used to coming from behind. I'd like to get out a bit faster next time. I'm known mostly for my 200 so I'm happy and a bit surprised at this medal."
Though Kelly lives 40 minutes from the pool, she always arrives early for practice. Dedication to training comes easily. "I'm always the first one in the pool." She has a long smooth stroke with a turnover she would like to think is fast. "I've worked hard on getting the stroke rate up this year, especially on the second 50. It still needs some work." At the rate she is improving, Kelly's competitors will be the ones who need more work.