HUMBOLDT — Humboldt’s Samantha Fisher brought home some shiny souvenirs from the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games.
The Special Olympics swimmer earned five medals – two gold, two silver and a bronze – in six races at the event. The 21-year-old Fisher said that earning medals at the Games meant to her, “that I accomplished something that few people could say that they got to do.”
Fisher, who swims with the Humboldt Hammerheads, impressed in Swift Current not only with her talent and success but also her personality.
“Sam was absolutely integral in Team Sask's overall success,” Team Saskatchewan head coach Jeff Toth said. “She swam great, which is evident in her medal success, but beyond that she brought a joy and a light to the rest of the team. Her smile was infectious, and her great humour was always welcomed.”
It was Team Saskatchewan assistant coach Melina Jenkins’ first time working with Fisher. She was “so pleasantly surprised by both her talent in the pool and attitude on deck.”
“She is a great swimmer, that was evident from the results from the weekend, but what isn't seen in the results was her determination and grit through uncertainty and new situations,” Jenkins said.
She recalls that during the Games the coaches offered to have the Special Olympic swimmers participate in a relay – something they had never done before. The way things played out Fisher swam the 100-metre butterfly.
“She was hesitant as she did not think she could finish it, but despite her fear she agreed and did the best she could,” Jenkins said. “As coaches, we do not ask for much more than swimmers to do the best they can, in that moment, and she stepped up to the plate.”
In her first day competing at the Western Canada Games, Fisher won the 100 metre backstroke on Aug. 10 in a time of 1:46.27. She also swam the 50 metre breaststroke. The next day she claimed gold in the 50 metre backstroke in 45.99. Fisher also won a silver medal in the 50 metre butterfly. She posted a time of 49.37 seconds.
Last week she was third in the 100 metre freestyle in 1:30.30. Fisher finished second in the 50 metre freestyle in a time of 39.90 seconds.
Deb Stumborg, the head coach of Special Olympics swimming in Humboldt, said Fisher did amazing at the Western Canada Games and represented Team Sask very well.
“Sam works hard and in the last year has added the butterfly stroke to her list of favorite races,” Stumborg said. “Breaststroke is technically the hardest stroke for a lot of swimmers, with some swimmers having the physical inability to perform it correctly. We are still working on that stroke with Sam and she is very determined. We've seen a lot of improvement so far in her breaststroke.”
Fisher has been swimming competitively for five years. Stumborg said that she is impressed with the athlete’s positive attitude and passion for swimming.
“She loves to swim and has fun doing it,” Stumborg said. “A disqualification in a race due to improper technique is met with understanding and a smile.”
Fisher likes the social part of swimming competitions, such as meeting new people. Specially about the Western Canada Summer Games, she said:
“I enjoyed being part of Team Saskatchewan and switching pins with different people to talk to them and know where they are from and how long they been in their sport.”
Last summer Fisher won five swimming medals at the Canada Summer Games in Nova Scotia. That was Fisher’s second time around at the Summer Games as she has competed previously in five-pin bowling.