Heading to Nepean for the Long-Course Provincial Swim Championships, Nina Kucheran hopes to think of nothing, for very good reason.
"When I think too hard about my swimming, I don't do as well," the 11-year-old Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club (SLSC) representative said.
A Grade 6 student at Ecole St Dominique, Kucheran will join nine other members of the SLSC in the nation's capital this weekend, closing out her season of competitive swimming.
Though she attended her first provincial championship last year, qualifying in the short-course events, Kucheran prefers the long-course races, gearing up primarily for her specialty, the 200-m breaststroke.
"I'm not the greatest at turns and there's less turns (in long-course), so I like that," she said.
Swimming with the SLSC crew since the age of nine, Kucheran noticed a change in her approach this past season.
"The past couple of years, practice was pretty much just swimming, but this year, I really focused on my technique."
Sending his largest contingent to provincials in quite some time, SLSC coach Dean Henze is looking forward to the break the bulk of his athletes will receive before too long.
"We'll swim until the end of July, and then it's six weeks off," Henze said. "I really don't want to see them in the water much over that stretch."
Like most of the swimmers who will compete in Nepean, Kucheran is looking to post a few personal best times, though she is learning, very gradually, to deal with the ups and downs of competition.
"I like beating my times," she said. "I kind of get mad when I don't, but I'm trying to work on not getting mad, because sometimes you just have a bad race."
Kucheran will be joined by SLSC teammates Julie Langlois, Kasey Thompson, Kelly Hotta, Brenna Eastick, Alex Langlois, Emilie Whipple, Alex Sarvas, Justin Burton-McCarthy and Chris Eastick when races begin on Thursday.
Posted by Laurel Myers