Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten has won medals at the Canada Games, pocketed national titles and represented Canada at a world championship.
Now she is laser-focused on the biggest goal of them all: the Summer Paralympics in Rio, Brazil, this September.
“I’m feeling pretty good. It’s a lot of pressure right now, but I feel like if I keep putting down the times I’m doing right now that I will have a fairly good shot at it,” said Frotten. “I just really want to go and I’m putting everything I’ve got into it. It’ll happen.”
Frotten returned to her racing roots two weeks ago. The 28-year-old sped to four gold at the Dogwood Track and Field Meet at the University of Victoria – the scene of her very first outdoor meet in 2013.
She got to try out her new set of wheels in a race setting at Dogwood.
“It was another test meet for me. I just got a new racer so it was the first meet I was in my new racer,” said Frotten.
“It’s a beautiful machine. It’s an OX (Engineering) racer from a Japanese company, and it’s the Cadillac of racers … It still needs a name. I’m thinking ‘Black Beauty’ maybe.
“Pretty much if the Batmobile had a race chair version, it would be this chair.”
Frotten captured gold in the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-metre races, bringing her gold medal count from the event to 14 with five won in 2013 and last year.
She also set a personal best time of 18.24 seconds in the 100, which is also a Paralympics A standard qualifying time.
“I just got started in the season. It’s a big year. Everybody is trying to make it to Rio,” said Frotten. “It’s amazing to think about how far I’ve come since that first Dogwood meet and the Canada Games, and now I’ve got Rio on my plate.”
Frotten also logged a B standard qualifying time in the 400 at 1:05.66. She finished the 800 in 2:21.79 and the 200 in 32.93, but “unfortunately the 200, which is probably one of my favourite races, is not an event in Rio,” said Frotten. “The only races I’m trying to make are the 100, 400 and 800. There’s a 1,500, but I’m not training for that right now. It’s hard to train for the 100 and those longer distance ones too. I’m not quite ready to race with the big girls in the 1,500 yet.”
Frotten had already set some Paralympic qualifying times at the Daytona Snowbird Classic in Florida this past March. There she posted an A standard time in the 100 and B standard times in the 400 and 800.
The Whitehorse-born athlete, who races for the Saskatoon Cyclones, started the year racing at the Summer Down Under Series in Canberra and Sydney, Australia in January. In a major break from routine, Frotten left the track to compete in her first 10-kilometre road race.
“It was awesome! I want to do a marathon now,” said Frotten. “It was so cool. It was right down by the harbour in Sydney and it was on Oz Day (Jan. 26) so the streets were just lined with people … I actually beat some of the Canadian boys,” she added with a ghoulish laugh.
Frotten has proven herself to be one of the fastest in the world. She made two finals at the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships last fall in Doha, Qatar, placing seventh in the 200-metre and eighth in the 100-metre.
Frotten qualified for worlds at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games in August where she won medals in two of her three events.
She was selected for the Parapan Games after winning five medals at the 2015 Canadian Track and Field Championships.
Trials for the Rio Paralympics will take place at track and field nationals this July in Edmonton.
Up next Frotten will race the “Swiss Series” – the Daniela Jutzeler Memorial Meet and the Swiss Nationals – at the end of next week in Nottwil, Switzerland.
“It was so awesome,” she added of the Dogwood meet. “My family came out – my dad and my sister and her two sons – and it was really nice to see all of them. It’s nice to have a cheering section sometimes.”
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