Colton Peterson tears through the water at the Landing Leisure Centre during a Chilliwack Spartans practice.

Hard work paying off for swimming star

Hard work and dedication have helped turn Chilliwack's Colton Peterson into a serious medal contender at the provincial and national levels.

For the third year in a row, the Chilliwack Progress and Sardis secondary school’s Grade 10 honours English class have partnered up for the ‘Let’s Get Published’ project.

Guided by teacher Brad Geary, students write sports-related articles, with the best ones getting published in the Progress sports section.

By Carson Olafson,Sardis Secondary

Colton Peterson has been swimming with the Chilliwack Spartans swim club for the past four years.

In this short time, he has grown from a novice competitive swimmer to an athlete to be reckoned with.

Peterson is now only one second away from the senior national qualifying time in his 100 metre breaststroke, which would allow him to attend and compete at world and Olympic trials.

Peterson’s best stroke, the breaststroke, is very dependent on upper body strength and knee flexibility.

The breaststroke is easy to learn, but very hard to do fast.

Peterson is fast.

He is an all-rounder when it comes to swimming. He competes in events of all strokes, and even qualifies for national level swim meets in his worst stroke.

But it is obvious that his greatest strength is his breaststroke.

He is ranked in the top 50 among 16-year-old swimmers for most of his events, and top 20 in his strongest. This season Peterson has improved his times and achieved elite status through hard work. He  comes to practice seven times a week, waking up at 4 a.m. most weekdays.

Peterson laughs when asked about how he fits a social life between school and swimming. He says that he is either swimming, or too tired from swimming, to go out most nights.

Peterson is in Grade 11 and is looking forward to a lot more swimming before his career is through. He trains more than 12 hours a week and is considering a jump to 16 hours, plus weightlifting done on his own time.

When asked about what he does with his time in the pool he says the main focus is muscular endurance training, all while making sure that each stroke is strong and has good technique.

Swimming is very technical and each aspect requires many hours of training.

Peterson has a wide array of equipment to assist in his technique training.

A pull buoy is a snorkel that faces forward to allow him to not have to breath to the side. He will swim with a band that holds his legs together, and he often has his coach video tape him so he can correct miniscule problems.

Peterson even gets filmed with an underwater camera.

He often sports a removable Chilliwack Spartan tattoo on his chest, much like ex-Spartan and Olympic swimmer Brent Hayden had a similar tattoo.

Hayden won Olympic bronze at the London Summer Olympics. Peterson admits he would like to get a real tattoo of the Spartan symbol, as a testament to his dedication and the fun he’s had with the Spartans.

If Peterson continues his hard work and dedication, he stands a good chance of competing at Hayden’s level on the international stage.

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