By Justin Seward
Redcliff swimmer Delrae Vetter had big things on the horizon in her young career this season with the Alberta Marlin Aquatic Club.
She was supposed to compete at two 1,500-metre Olympic trials, nationals, senior nationals and Spring Champs in March.
However the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown happened in mid-March, resulting in those events to be cancelled and dashing her hopes of those accomplishments for this year.
There was a lot of emotion from the young athlete when she looked back at the shortened season.
“It was really heartbreaking because I felt like everything I worked for from not only last year when I was 14, but this year with all my training and preparation, just got taken away from me, said Vetter.
“It was really hard to get over. I’m still not over it, but I’ve looked more at the positive things than the negatives.”
Her last time swimming was March 16 and all events were cancelled on March 14.
“I was balling,” she said
“I saw it and just started crying and Jordan (coach Harper) had to talk me out of it. I mean like any swimmer or whether you are a provincial or a higher level, you’re going to the Olympics, it was heartbreaking for everybody. Because going from training to now not swimming for five months, that’s literally hard on everybody.”
Harper just encouraged her not think the season was a complete write-off.
“He (did not want) me to be in the mindset of ‘This is over. I‘ve got nothing left and just in the mindset when I come back I have so much catch up and I’m going to suck,’” she said.
“That’s definitely what I was thinking for about two weeks. But then I thought of it like taking time off might be a good thing. It’s a way to get stronger outside of the pool.”
Out-of-pool training for swimmers is not easy compared to other sports.
“Swimmers have it (a lot) harder than any other sport, said Vetter.
“If you’re a hockey player, you can shoot pucks. If you play basketball, you can go shoot hoops. If you’re a dancer you can train. But swimming, you physically can not train without water.”
“Yeah I swim open water but I don’t like swimming in lakes. So I was stuck with what do I do now. That’s what I was thinking all the time. That’s when you know working my legs and getting them stronger was the main focus.”
Vetter was doing nightly elliptical session for the first two months of quarantine for two-kilometres as well as a small work out just to keep it up with what she was doing in the pool.
In recent weeks, she has been doing ‘Beach Body’ pre-work regimes.
With the recent announcement of pools being able open again last month, Vetter can now go back to some normalcy with her laps.
“When we first heard it, my mom (Michelle) was more excited than me,” she laughed.
“I was a bit skeptical that they were opening. I’m still really skeptical with the amount of people that might be there. Obviously they can’t open to the full capacity. But I don’t want to have a bunch of people and try to be there as often.”
She plans to resume swimming at the Redcliff Aquatic Centre and back at the Medicine Hat Leisure at some point.
Vetter didn’t hesitate to say she is nervous for next year due to the lengthy break.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the young swimmer would be in the water eight times in seven days.
She has been keeping in contact with her fellow Marlin teammates on a daily basis through SnapChat and feeling there all in the same boat as her with not being able to swim.
“I don’t feel as bad and knowing that everybody in the Hat and at the Club are doing well at this time is my main concern,” said Vetter.