When Breah Dunn was young, she never imagined she would one day be the head coach of a para-swimming team at one of the most prestigious youth competitions in the province.
Now, her dreams are becoming a reality as she was named the head coach of the roughly six para-swimming athletes preparing to compete at the B.C. Summer Games in Abbotsford this month.
“I wanted to do it. I was the assistant coach two years ago when it was in Nanaimo. To come back as the head coach is good,” said the 27-year-old Victoria resident.
Dunn’s passion for swimming began when she joined the Tyee Aquatic Club at Crystal Pool almost two decades ago.
She swam competitively for years, before stepping away from the pool when she was 18 years old. Her mother was responsible for starting the para-program with the aquatic club in the 1990s, teaching athletes of all ages to swim, both recreationally and competitively. After her mother moved on to a job with Swimming Canada, the program was in need of coaches and that’s when Dunn decided to jump back into the sport she loved so much as a child, but in a new capacity.
After six years of coaching, she hasn’t looked back.
“I enjoy it (coaching) a lot. Everyone is different in their own unique way in the water, so it’s fun to figure out what works best for each athlete. It’s trial and error,” Dunn said, adding she enjoys teaching swimmers how to assess themselves and how they can improve.
“You spend time with them in and out of the water and see what works and what doesn’t work. I just like seeing success in (my) swimmers. Even if they’re not successful, trying to help them gain something from the experience.”
Heading into the B.C. Summer Games, Dunn will only have one training session to work with the athletes before they hit the water. She admits it will be challenging, but will touch base with athletes’ coaches beforehand to find out what they’ve been working on and what their goals will be for the Games.
“I just want them to do their best and have fun. B.C. Games is more of a fun atmosphere and an introduction to being on a bigger team like the Western Canada Games or Canada Games team,” Dunn said.
The B.C. Summer Games are a biennial celebration of sport and community, bringing together more than 3,600 athletes to compete in 18 sports, including baseball, basketball, equestrian, lacrosse, synchronized swimming, triathlon, volleyball and wrestling. The Games take place in Abbotsford from July 21 to 24.
Other Victoria and Esquimalt athletes competing in swimming at the Games include Amber Crack, Dexter Bligh, Laura Daniel Rincon, and Anastasia Trudel. Brenda Scott will be competing in synchronized swimming and Cheyenne Furlong-Goo will be competing in swimming, Special Olympics.