Swimmer eyes up national time

Para-swimming: Maggie Manning hopes to make qualifying mark.

Sights set: Salmon Arm’s Maggie Manning was invited by Team BC to swim at the recent PARA West Camp in Richmond. This week she’s off to the Long Course Provincial Championships in Victoria where she will work to take off a fraction of a second in a couple of events to earn a National qualifying time standard.

Being born with a  severe disability and undergoing numerous surgeries has not stopped a Salmon Arm girl from pushing forward and discovering what she loves — being in the water.

Maggie Manning, 14, was born with severe bilateral hip dysplasia, which means she’s essentially had to grow up without hips.

Her condition makes tasks such as walking difficult and painful, but Manning has found that competitive swimming is not only something she enjoys, but it doesn’t add to the struggles of her disability.

“It’s been hard because I haven’t been able to do all the things that my friends can do,” said Manning. “But it’s made me who I am and I’m proud of that.”

Manning, who has always had a love for sports, tried swimming on a whim for the first time last year and instantly knew she had found her calling.

“When I’m in the water, I’m just like everyone else,” she says.

Manning has gone through 10 surgeries to reconstruct her hips, which have constantly put a damper on her passion for sports.

“The surgeries have been hard to cope with,” says Manning, who had to give up playing ringette due to the complications of her disability.

Playing as goalie, Manning would have to re-learn to skate after each surgery and, eventually, it was too much work to keep her eight-year old ringette career going.

“I was kind of disappointed,” said Manning, who also really enjoys soccer and biking.

Despite the disappointment, she loves swimming which, unlike other sports she’s tried, is good for her joints and helps her muscles grow stronger.

After discovering her love of the water, she quickly paired up with coach Jana Montgomery and headed to a swim meet in Edmonton in November.

She brought home three bronze and one silver medal and qualified for the B.C. Para-swimming Provincials in Kamloops in January. There she won a number of gold medals.

“Maggie is a determined girl, full of grit and athleticism,” said Montgomery. “She’s found her niche and her outlet.”

Manning said her favourite part of swimming events is getting to meet people with the same disability as her.

From provincials, Manning was selected for Team BC to attend the PARA West Camp in Richmond. The camp consisted of seminars on nutrition and goal setting, and lots of training time in the water.

“It was a lot of fun and a great experience to learn,” she says.

Manning likes the way swimming has all the challenges of a  team sport, but it’s also very individualized.

“Swimming is my way to feel not different than everybody else,” she says, noting that she likes to see herself improve.

With dreams of making it onto the Canadian Paralympic team, Manning would be thrilled to compete at either or both the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016 and the Tokyo Games in 2020.

Her next event will be the Long Course Provincial Championships in Victoria, July 3 to 6, where she will be competing to reach the national qualifying time standard.

“I’m really hopeful that I will get my national time,” said Manning. “I’m only 0.04 seconds off.”


Just Posted

Water quality makes swimming unsafe at three beaches near Salmon Arm

The Adams Lake Indian Band has issued a water quality notice affecting beaches at three campgrounds.

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges cadet program on gendered policy

He wants the policy to be more gender inclusive

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

In photos: Uptown Askew’s Family Day

The Uptown Askew’s Family Day event was filled with classic cars, face… Continue reading

Word on the street: Has the wet July weather put a damper on your summer any?

Due to the wetter-than-usual July weather, the Observer asked: Has the wet… Continue reading

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Donkeys await your hugs and scritches at anniversary event

Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge invites public to help celebrate 20 years of care.

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Second osprey chick dies, Okanagan web cam off

The second chick in an osprey nest featured on the Town of Osoyoos website has died

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Fire department helps with body recovery in Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Police on scene at Penticton beach

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Most Read