Tschetter swims to medal podium

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Six medals at Special Olympics Alberta Spring Games

Morinville swimmer Michelle Tschetter made a big splash at the Special Olympics Alberta Spring Games.

Tschetter, 25, medaled in all six of her races in winning three gold, two silver and one bronze at the recent competition in Red Deer.

“It’s pretty awesome. I’m so happy. I can’t believe I did so good,” said an overjoyed Tschetter.

“We went to Red Deer in February and we did a swim meet and that was just ribbons, but then when we go to provincials it’s actually medals,” she added. “Medals are way better than ribbons.”

The St. Albert Special Olympics athlete finished first in the 25-metre breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle events, placed second in 50m backstroke and freestyle and was third in the 100m freestyle.

“There were a lot of people there so it was a big thing,” said Tschetter, who won the 25m breast by about .02 of a second. “This is my first time going and I’m actually surprised I won all these medals. I thought I was going to do really bad and I was nervous too but I took a deep breath and I was like, ‘I know I can do it.’”

The medal haul was too good to be true.

“The one I’m really, really most proud of I would say is the front crawl because I’m pretty good at it. I can go really, really fast because I dive in a lot when I’m swimming,” Tschetter said. “The backstroke was good too. It was only two lengths so it was really good. It was pretty easy too.”

It was Tschetter’s first provincial spring games in swimming after winning gold in softball with her St. Albert mixed team at the 2011 Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games in St. Paul.

Faced with the decision to enter provincials in swimming or wait until summer to play softball, Tschetter picked the pool over the diamond.

“I’ve been doing swimming for a while. I go to practices on Friday nights at Fountain Park pool in St. Albert with the coaches,” she said. “They chose six people to go to provincials and I was one of them.”

Tschetter acknowledged her coaches Margo, who drives in from Whitecourt with her son, Connor, for practices, and Debbie and Curtis for their guidance and support, as well as Wendy Stiver, chairperson of Special Olympics St. Albert Management Committee.

“In the summer my coaches want me to practice my flip turns and practice more on my diving a little bit,” said the Morinville Community High School alumna.

Tschetter’s success put her in contention to represent Alberta at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver.

“I do hope I make it to nationals in 2014 because I do have other family members that live in Vancouver that would probably want to come see me at nationals.”

Tschetter’s biggest fans are her co-workers at Sobeys in Morinville. Last week they made the part-time bakery department employee for eight years feel like a million dollars when she showed off her medals at work.

“They said they’re really proud of me.”

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About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.