Jessica Frotten’s first taste of international competition was as sweet as Swiss chocolate.
The Whitehorse para wheelchair racer took two fifth-place finishes and set two personal best times at the 41st Swiss Open Nationals over the weekend in Nottwil, Switzerland.
“This has been an incredible experience! I’ve been meeting people from all over the world, racers who are waaaay more experienced than me,” wrote Frotten in a message to the News. “I’ve been getting all sorts of helpful tips from the pros. It’s pretty awesome to line up on the start line in a full heat with girls from across the world!”
The 26-year-old raced to eighth in the 200-metre on Friday in the T53 division with a time of 36.45. She placed fifth in the 800-metre at 2:27.29.
Then she really turned up the heat. Frotten came seventh in the 400-metre with a personal best time of 1:08.83 and fifth in the 100-metre in a personal best time of 19.19.
“I think my first two races were so rough mostly because of nerves, but also it was really cold and rainy,” said Frotten. “Saturday the sun came out and I was pushing a lot better.”
The Swiss Open was the second time in just over a week Frotten set a personal best time in the 400-metre. She placed fourth in the women’s 400-metre with a time of 1:11.16 at the Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona, the previous weekend. That time qualified her for the Canadian Track and Field Championships this June in Moncton, N.B.
Frotten also took fourth in the 200 and fifth in the 100 in Arizona, with times that would have been personal bests but were ineligible due to illegal winds.
She’ll be back in action on Wednesday in a second Swiss Racing Series event.
“Hearing the announcer say ‘Jessica Frotten representing Canada’ is pretty neat,” she said. “I’m getting a little homesick, it’s been a long time away.”
Arizona was the first outdoor competition for Frotten since she captured three bronze medals at the Canada Summer Games last August in Sherbrooke, Que. Frotten competed for Team Saskatchewan, having moved to Regina for the First Steps Wellness Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those living with spinal-cord injuries.
Frotten also snagged two gold at the 2013 Canada Summer Games Western Challenge and captured three silver at the Canada Summer Games Trials, Senior and Master Provincial Championships last July in Saskatoon, Sask.
She also finished as the top female in four races at the 2013 Saskatchewan Open Championships and Trials in Regina, last June.
Frotten won five gold at her first outdoor meet, the Dogwood Track and Field Meet in Victoria, B.C., a year ago.
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