Pictou County Mariners Shania Wong and Kristin MacKinnon have committed to the Acadia Axewomen swim team for the 2014-15 academic season. Both are from Pictou and graduate from their respective high schools in June
©Christopher Cameron – TC Media
It has been five years since a Pictou County Mariners swimmer was recruited for a university team, but this year they’re making a splash.
Two members of the Pictou-based team have committed to the Acadia swim team for 2014-15 academic year.
Kristin MacKinnon and Shania Wong, both of Pictou, didn’t know if continuing to swim competitively after this year was a possibility, but hoped it would happen.
“I always wanted to keep swimming after high school at the university level, but thought I would look at Dal because all our meets are there,” said MacKinnon.
“Then I looked into other options for kinesiology and it was ranked the highest at Acadia. I know that’s what I wanted to study, plus it’s in a small town instead of a big one.”
St. FX was the school Wong was looking at for kinesiology, but, like MacKinnon, she wanted to keep on swimming. After she visited Acadia she knew it was the school for her.
“I really liked the friendly environment,” said Wong. “It was very welcoming. Like Kristin said, kinesiology at Acadia is ranked the best and that’s what I want to take to continue in sports, so it’s a perfect fit.”
They both agree Acadia coach Chris Stone is enthusiastic about the sport and having them join the team. The girls spoke to him at a meet in November about going to Acadia before going down to Wolfville for two days to practice with the team in January.
“I had the chance to stay with a second year on the team that’s also in kin, so that was really nice to have her to answer a lot of my questions about school and the team,” said MacKinnon. “Everyone on the team is so nice. Being on the team adds to your busy schedule, but it makes it easier having people that have been there before, doing school and swimming at the same time.”
Pictou County Mariners co-coach Ed Stewart said that he and Tara Fanning have enjoyed coaching the girls the past number of years and expect they will do well at Acadia starting next year.
“It’s exciting because it’s been a number of years since we’ve had a grad go on to swim for a university program and I think Acadia is a good fit for them,” said Stewart.
“They’ve had good performance results in their meets and the Acadia coach saw them compete and can follow their results online. They’re looking to fill gaps in their program and having not talked to him I can’t say too much, but the strokes and distance they swim will help fill the needs Acadia has.”
MacKinnon, a student at Pictou Academy, specializes is backstroke and freestyle, while Wong, a student at North Nova, focuses on breaststroke and butterfly.
MacKinnon has been a Mariner for 12 years, while Wong has been a part of the team for six.
Outside of water Stewart said both swimmers would bring a lot to the Acadia program with their leadership abilities.
“Shania uses her intensity to push kids, while Kristin has a relaxed, positive way about her that appeals to other kids,” he said. “Both take direction well and are always looking for ways to improve as athletes.”
In preparation for September, Wong and MacKinnon expect to be in the pool training more than they have in the past. MacKinnon said she has taken the last few summers off, but this year will work hard to stay in shape for the fall. Wong expects to be running more to keep up her cardio, possibly training for another 10-kilometre run.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to go there and keep swimming,” said MacKinnon. “It will be a little different because I’ll be moving from high school to university and the last year I’ve spent more time on academics than swimming. When I get there I’ll be putting more time into swimming than this year, but the same amount to academics. It will be a busy schedule, but I’m excited for it.”