It’s amazing what a sport can do for a person when it comes to their physical well-being.
In the case of swimmer Hidde Guerts his sport has done wonders in that regard but what he does in the pool has also paid off in other areas.
He is the holder of world titles for his division in the 200 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke after a meet down in Mexico this year.
“ I did feel good about it,” said the 19-year swimmer with the Catalina swim Club in Red Deer. “It was just so crazy. In my first event (200 freestyle) I clocked my best time ever.”
The water temperature apparently played a role in him knocking four seconds off of his personal best, he said.
“It was like 21 degrees. It makes you think and see if you can combat that cold water. It’s nothing but a clash between hot and cold. If you swim fast that’s what makes you warm.”
Now while his accomplishments in the pool are obvious the fact he deals with a developmental disability is not, which is just the way he likes it.
“It’s so minor. It’s like you having diabetes but you’re not telling everyone you have it,” explained his mom, Anneke.
She’s very proud of her son and what he has accomplished through swimming.
“The whole swimming thing spiraled everything in a positive way,” she said.
“School, getting his high school diploma. He’s driving with his learners and he’s almost ready for his driving exam.”
She says it’s one surprise after another with Hidde as to what he achieves when he sets his mind to doing something.
His focus is now on swimming as he given up water polo kayaking in order to improve his swimming technique.
Getting off to a fast start on the blocks is something he’s working on now.
“I’m trying to keep my diving posture good and as I dive I can feel myself fly up very high and you get this beautiful arc,” he said.
Next up on the schedule for him will be the Can Am Games in Toronto in March and if he does well then it’s off to the Para Pan American games in the same city in August.
He will race in the 100 freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke as well as the 200 freestyle and IM.
“The chances and the potential have him so excited he’s only improving more and more,” said Anneke.