CORNER BROOK Nicholas Sparkes believes he‚Äôs made significant strides in his development as a swimmer since joining the Memorial University Sea-Hawks men‚Äôs varsity swim team.
‚ÄúI made the travel team and I‚Äôve been knocking off some times with some personal best times and I‚Äôve been on a couple of relays so I‚Äôm m starting to show myself for sure,‚ÄĚ‚ÄąSparkes said while home in the city for the Christmas break.
Sparkes, an 18-year-old Corner Brook native, is in his rookie season with the Sea-Hawks after being a dominant force on the provincial swimming scene as a member of the Corner Brook Rapids Swim Club.
The son of Wendell and Sandra Sparkes put in an impressive performance for the Sea-Hawks at an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) meet in Halifax before heading home for the holidays. He had a fourth-place finish in the 400-m Individual Medley, while nabbing seventh place in the 200-m butterfly and 11th spot in the 100-m fly. He was also a member of the Sea-Hawks B squad that captured seventh spot in the 400-m relay event.
Life as a student-athlete pursuing an engineering degree with a hectic swimming training program has proven to be quite busy for Sparkes, but he was used to a hectic pace when he swam with the Rapids.
‚ÄúGenerally, it‚Äôs school, sleep, eat and swim,‚ÄĚ he said.
However, one big learning curve for the young man was adjusting to life away from family and friends. It was a little challenging getting used to not having his parents or friends around to help out, but he‚Äôs learning to fend for himself fully realizing he don‚Äôt have the luxury of coming from school and finding supper ready compliments of mom.
‚ÄúIt went better as the term progressed. In the beginning it was kind of like ‚Äúwhat do I‚Äô but it‚Äôs pretty good now,‚ÄĚ‚Äąhe said.