Chatham-Kent Pool Sharks Maddy Broad and Kendra Polewski recently signed letters of intent to U.S. universities. They are to receive full scholarships at the University of Toledo and University of Findlay respectively. Both schools are in Ohio.
Broad, 17, is a poster-child of sorts for the Sharks. She’s been swimming with the organization for years now. Coach Kyle Pinsonneault said he’s coached her since she was 10.
Broad, who has won gold medals at the national level for her age group, will be missed by the Sharks, the coach said. He knows the University of Toledo will get a fierce competitor.
“Her (swim) times would already score in the A finals of her conference (the Mid-America Conference in the NCAA Division 1). She had major top-end schools after her,” he said. “She decided she wanted to stay close to the border and at a smaller school.”
Pinsonneault said Polewski’s work ethic is top notch.
“Kendra’s been with us for two years now. She transferred to us from Windsor. She’s from Belle River,” he said. “She commutes every morning and every afternoon. She leaves our pool around 7:20 in the morning and drives to school.”
The Pool Sharks’ high-performance program is what attracted Polewski to the team, Pinsonneault said.
“The high performance program we run is sprint-focused. The people involved are high level,” he said.
Pinsonneault said the swimmers are looking forward to the opportunities and challenges at the U.S. schools on campus and in the pool.
“Both of them are pretty excited to move onto the NCAA. It’s free education,” he said. “You train for the past 15 years of your lives to compete. The cherry on top is to eventually go to the U.S. for a paid education and still compete at an extremely high level.”
The two swimmers will also only be about 80 kilometres apart, as Findlay is due south of Toledo.
The two teens are dedicated to their sport, Pinsonneault said.
“Both are really hard workers. They never miss a practice,” he said. “They push themselves to the limit every single day, in and out of the pool. They are two good girls to coach.”
Polewski and Broad are just two of about 60 swimmers involved in the Pool Sharks’ various programs. The team is off to a solid start to the season, Pinsonneault said, coming off an “amazing meet” recently in Brantford.
Pinsonneault said the high-performance group is gearing towards the Ontario Junior Internationals in Toronto in December, before focusing on two major international opportunities next year.
“Two teams will be selected in April – one for the Junior Pan Pacs held in Fiji and the Youth Olympic Games held in Argentina,” he said.