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UVic- Pacific Coast Swimming Association Olympians to Compete at Home

Over 350 swimmers from Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland and Alberta will compete in the University of Victoria Pacific Coast Swimming Association's Christmas Cracker 12-14. Competing will be many of Pacific Coast Swimming's Age Group stars as well as the full senior squad of university and high school athletes.

Christin Petelski will compete this weekend and in this summer's Olympic Trials Petelski will be vying for a spot on her third Canadian Olympic Team. Petelski is a breaststroke specialist and finished in the top 12 in both of the last two Olympiads. Ms. Petelski battled back from various injuries to make the 2000 Olympic Team and to win the National Championship title two of the last three years. Her enthusiasm and willingness to push beyond her physical limits have kept her on top of the game internationally and will stand her in good stead this summer against the world's best. Petelski will be joined by ten of her team mates at the Canadian Olympic Trial in June in Toronto.

Also competing this weekend for UVic-Pacific Coast Swimming Association will be Paralympic World Record Holder and World Champion Stephanie Dixon. Dixon is from Toronto and came to Victoria to swim with the Vikes Swim Team as part of the University of Victoria Pacific Coast Swimming Association. Dixon goes to school at the University and trains daily at Commonwealth Place. Dixon is known around the pool as the best in the group at pushing off the walls at the ends of the pool in spite of having only one leg. Her spirit and competitive drive are an inspiration to all those around her. Dixon is pre-qualified for this summer's Para-Olympics in Athens.

The cost of training to compete at the international level is extreme. Each athlete must train in excess of twenty-five hours per week most are attending University as well, and often have to maintaina part-time job as well. The financial implications are in the ten thousand dollar range to compete for one season. While people do not always see the plight of the 'poor athlete' as one worthy of stacking up against all of the causes abounding in the world today, come the day the Olympics are on TV there is much discussion about Canada's athletic prowess.