Ryan Cochrane

Ryan Cochrane

Blue Fins to host Olympians

The Williams Lake Blue Fins will host two Olympians starting this Friday.

Members of the Williams Lake Blue Fins and city residents will have a second-to-none opportunity this Friday when two Olympians visit the lakecity to share their stories.

Victoria swimmer Ryan Cochrane, a long-distance specialist who won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics and a silver medal in the 2012 Olympics in the 1,500-metre freestyle, and former Williams Lake Blue Fins swimmer and 2012 Paralympic Games judo athlete Tim Rees, will host an Olympic Swim Camp and fundraising dinner Friday, Oct. 5.

Chad Webb, head coach of the Williams Lake Blue Fins, said everyone’s excited about the opportunity, which will also see Cochrane and Rees speak about their journeys to guests at Friday night’s dinner.

“Ryan [Cochrane] is the most decorated, and current most decorated, swimmer in Canada,” Webb said, noting the significance of the opportunity for his swimmers. “And Tim — he was a former swimmer of mine — and a former Williams Lake resident who continued with judo. I think it’s going to be neat for him to give a perspective from a different sport. It’s pretty exciting.”

Friday at 5 p.m. Blue Fins swimmers, who will be joined by some swimmers from Quesnel, will hit the water with Cochrane. Later at 6 p.m. the club’s older swimmers will be in the water for a training session, followed up by another Saturday morning.

Following that the dinner and auction — which will include several items signed by Cochrane — goes at 7:15 p.m. at the Longhouse and will be catered by Angie Brinoni.

“Ryan’s going to talk about his journey and what he’s done the past couple of years,” Webb said. “He’ll be talking about hard work, dedication and motivation. I think it’s a message for anyone — not specifically swimmers.

“Tim, he’s going to talk about overcoming some pretty big obstacles. He’s done some amazing things.”

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Also on Friday Cochrane will be at Columneetza secondary speaking to a group of elementary school students.

Webb said he hopes the Blue Fins can use the swimming portion of the camp as motivation for the current swim season.

“I think they’ll take away a number of things, depending on their level of swimming,” Webb said. “There’s the excitement that Olympians and Paralympians can come from just about anywhere, even little small communities and towns.

“I just hope the two talks highlight how sports can help us keep active and get our swimmers excited about swimming fast and that fast, good swimmers can come from anywhere.”

The dinner, auction and presentation is open to anyone in the community. Tickets are $35 for non Blue Fins swimmers and $25 for registered Blue Fins swimmers and are available at Haines Office World or by e-mailing bluefins@live.com.