Glacier Bear strikes gold, silver, bronze in Vancouver

It sounds like a cliche to say hard work and a positive attitude will get you where you want to be. For Whitehorse's Taylor Campbell, 13, it's no empty cliche and the proof is in the pool.

It sounds like a cliche to say hard work and a positive attitude will get you where you want to be. For Whitehorse’s Taylor Campbell, 13, it’s no empty cliche and the proof is in the pool.

“I try to train really hard in my practices and give 100 per cent effort in all of them,” said Campbell. “(In competitions I tell myself) I’m going to get my time and I’m going to win.”

On the weekend, the Glacier Bears Swim Club member competed at the BC AA Long Course Championships in Vancouver taking home four medals. Specializing in freestyle, Campbell brought home a gold in the 400-metre and two silvers in the 200- and 800-metre events. She also took bronze in the 100-metre backstroke as well as two fourth place finishes in the 50- and 100-metre freestyle events.

“I felt it was one of my better meets,” said Campbell.

The meet was another on a growing list of events in which she racked up numerous personal bests, setting six. She also produced five personal bests at the Yukon Invitational Swim Meet at the start of the month and six at Edmonton’s Keyano Invitational in May.

However, with one of her personal bests last weekend came a bit of frustration. In her silver-medal performance in the 200-metre freestyle Campbell missed a AAA time by 0.31 seconds. Had she reached that mark she would have returned south for the BC AAA Long Course Championships being held in Victoria July 2-5.

“I didn’t get it because I messed up on the flip-turn,” said Campbell. “I went too close to the wall and I had to push with my legs too close, so I was all crunched up. That’s also where the girl besides me caught me. I was leading the whole way, except for my last flip-turn.

“It’s my favourite event—I really like 200 (metre races) and I’m really good at freestyle.”

As the only Yukoner competing in Vancouver, Campbell was not accompanied by a Glacier Bears coach. So, instead, she received instruction from West Vancouver Otters Swim Club coach Kris Bober.

“Being the only swimmer from Yukon without friends and a home coach I think Taylor showed that she is solid, responsible and a competitive athlete,” said Bober in an e-mail to the News. “Within a couple of hours she felt at ease and we considered her a member of our team. She was in conversations with Otters’ team members and had a good time with them during the meet.

“I think having a friendly atmosphere helped Taylor to relax and compete at her best.”

Despite her consistent setting of personal bests, Glacier Bears head coach Marek Poplawski feels this season is only the tip of the iceberg.

“She’s growing and getting better, so I don’t think this is her breakout season,” said Poplawski. “I think the best is ahead of her.”

Campbell has been named to the Canada Games Team and therefore will be joining the rest of Team Yukon in PEI in August.

In the more immediate future, 11 Glacier Bears will be making the trip to the AAA competition next week in Victoria, BC. From there Poplawski, along with the club’s top swimmers, Alexandra Gabor and Bronwyn Pasloski, will be heading to Montreal for the World Championship Trials/Senior Nationals to be held July 8-11.

The Canadian Age Group Championships will follow that meet the following week, also in Montreal.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com