Meet A Gee-Gee

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Graduating swimmer hopes to end her varsity career with a splash

Photo credit: Richard Whittaker 

Nicole Lachance placed fourth in the 800-metre freestyle on Nov. 22 with a total time of 9:01.25 at the Stratten Divisionals. This swimming star is a fourth-year student in philosophy and women’s studies.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Lachance swam with the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club from when she was eight years old until she graduated high school. She has received the most improved award multiple times on her team and has competed at the national level.

“Swimming with a club was an easy way to make friends and be active. It was a pretty thrilling experience,” says Lachance. “We got to travel virtually everywhere in North America. We got to go to camps in Florida and swim meets in Charlotte, N.C. On top of that, we got to every corner of Canada, which was so exciting as a kid.”

Growing up, her inspiration was Natalie Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic swimming medalist from California. Coughlin was the first woman to ever win a 100-metre backstroke gold in two consecutive Olympics.

“She had it all figured out in my eyes,” says Lachance.

Now in her final year of eligibility and her fifth year of swimming with the Gee-Gees, she says being on the team has been an uplifting experience.

“There is a rare and unique melange of talented and hard-working people who support one another. My favourite thing about the team is our undying support for one another. It’s remarkable to me.”

Swimming is a demanding sports. The swim team members train nine times a week for two hours at a time, and they lift weights. Swimming at the varsity level is even more demanding.

“Varsity swimming is fierce and intense. We race hard and we race often,” says Lachance. “Usually in club swimming you don’t get the opportunity to race too much in a season but varsity is so different.”

This season, she hopes to make it to the Ontario University Athletic (OUA) finals and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship. She has confidence the Gee-Gees will come in the top three at the OUAs.