The athletics track in Arbon, Switzerland has the reputation for being one of the fastest in the world.
Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten can attest to the validity of the rumor.
The 27-year-old para wheelchair racer notched numerous personal best times at a pair of meets there last week.
“I’m pretty happy with my results, going up against the best in the world. I was racing Amazons, like these women were huge,” said Frotten.
“There were personal bests in all the races – I just kept getting faster.
“I almost got under a minute in the 400 and I got personal best in the 100 and 200 … and the 800.”
Frotten wrapped up her stay in Switzerland with the Swiss Open Nationals over the weekend in Arbon.
Not only did she post personal best times in each race, she accomplished a very specific goal in the 1,500-metre.
Frotten broke the four-minute mark and thereby set her fourth qualifying time for the Pan Am and Parapan American Games this summer in Toronto.
She has now posted qualifying times for all the events available to her at the Games.
“It was a personal best by something stupid like 20 seconds and I made the qualifier,” said Frotten. “Now I just have to race at nationals and the (Pan Am) team will be named after that.”
Frotten finished the 1,500 in 3:53.79 and placed 22nd out of 24 racers in the combined T53-T54 division. She was eighth for T53.
“We raced with girls who are experienced racing the 1,500 and I’ll tell you, it’s a little bit scary,” said Frotten. “They’re hugging in right close to you and they are hitting your wheels. I think I have to get a little more aggressive if I’m going to be really competitive in that race. But it was really good to race it with some experienced racers.”
At the competition, which saw 350 athletes from over 30 countries compete, Frotten also placed 12th out of 23 (sixth for T53) in the 100-metre at 18.30 seconds; 10th out of 21 (sixth for T53) in the 200-metre at 32.35 seconds and 19th out of 32 (ninth for T53) in the 400-metre at 1:01.90.
Just a couple days earlier, Frotten competed at the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial Meet in Arbon where she took fourth in the 100 metre.
Frotten had plenty of success in Switzerland, but she got off to a rough start.
“It didn’t start off very good,” said Frotten. “I landed in Zurich and my racer came off the plane – I have this case for it and it looked like it got hit by an airplane. The whole case was caved in. I pulled the racer out and the frame was bent, the fork was bent. It was just mangled. I had to get a quick fix for that. Luckily the track in Nottwil was right next to their rehab centre. I was able to take it to their engineers and they were able to make it semi-raceable for me.”
Frotten began her Swiss trip racing at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil at the end of May.
In Nottwil she raced to seventh in the 100, eighth in the 200, and 12th in the 400 and 800.
“That whole Nottwil meet didn’t go very well for me. I got super sick. I had the flu, I had to scratch in the 1,500 because I just couldn’t race it,” said Frotten. “But I managed to pull it together for the races in Arbon.”
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