The swimmer to beat

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Quinn Gauthier, age 13, has amassed a huge collection of medals, ribbons and trophies in his 2-years as a competitive swimmer, and has his sights set on bigger competitions. His mom Josée Leblanc is his biggest cheerleader and a dedicated volunteer for the Sturgeon Falls Sharks swim team.

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Young Quinn Gauthier has been swimming competitively for just over two years, but the 13-year old is already one of the most formidable competitors in all of Northern Ontario. When he shows up on deck, other swimmers’ shoulders sag – they know they’ll be competing for second place. This season, he’s been racking up gold medal after gold medal, culminating in an astounding performance in Sault Ste-Marie at the Dave Kensit A Champs event, where only North-eastern Ontario swimmers with qualifying times can attend. Just 12-years old at the time of this competition last month, Quinn took first place in all seven of his events and won the top points trophy.

However, Quinn’s biggest competition is himself. After being off 11 months last year due to three fractures sustained in a trampoline accident, and then six weeks due to an injured thumb and wrist from playing soccer, he fought his way back to top form and focused on improving his times. Mom Josée Leblanc says he always gives 110%. “Quinn puts in a lot of time,” she notes, adding he trains about six times per week as part of the Sturgeon Falls Sharks Swim Team.

Head coach Caroline Keough agrees. “He’s never nonchalant. He gives it his all, even in practice. He’s determined,” she describes.

Leblanc says he’s like that in everything, whether it’s school or mastering any new skill. “He can’t do it just halfway, he has to do it until he wins. He’s always had that drive. I’m not sure where it comes from,” she recounts. “You can see it on the bench just before a race, the concentration on his face.”

Quinn explains, “it’s the rush of trying to get first place. It’s a good feeling. (…) People look at me now and say, ‘ah, I have to swim against Quinn again.’” He tries to cut time at every race, always trying to improve, he adds.


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