Sparkes hopes to be back with Sea-Hawks next season

Dave Kearsey
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Nicholas Sparkes is seen in this October 2013 photo. — Star file photo

 As long as Nicholas Sparkes is comfortable with his academic workload, the Corner Brook swimmer wants to return to the pool for a sophomore season.

Sparkes, an 18-year-old former star with the Corner Brook Rapids Swim Club, recently wrapped up his rookie campaign with Memorial University’s varsity men’s Sea-Hawks while pursuing an engineering degree.

“It’s nice to have faster friends,” Sparkes said of his introduction to competitive swimming at the college level.

Sparkes was a dominant force on the provincial swimming scene before embarking on his post-secondary education in St. John’s where he will spend the next four months on an engineering workterm with Subsea 7, a seabed-to-surface engineering contractor.

He said competing alongside guys his own age who are all pretty fast in the pool has certainly been a rewarding experience. He doesn’t doubt his swimming improved in a number of areas, so he has no regrets about trying to excel as an elite student-athlete.

“When somebody is next to you, going your speed or faster, it pushes me and I know it pushes a lot of other people to keep up with them,” he said.

Being able to make a smooth transition from high school to college life is no doubt a challenge for a lot of varsity athletes, and it was no different for Sparkes. He didn’t grumble about the hectic training schedule, but education is utmost on his mind — something he says he can’t lose sight of as he contemplates a second swimming season.

“I want to have the time for (swimming),” Sparkes said, adding he’s remaining optimistic at this point.

“It’s going to be more of a trial the first couple of weeks to see what the courses are actually like, because where they are brand new courses I don’t know much about them.”

No matter what decision he makes in the fall, Sparkes is pleased that he put a lot of work into his swimming and embraced the presence of his teammates who helped push him through some of the intense practices.

“Maybe I wouldn’t try that hard if I was by myself, but with them there going fast it was a real good push, so I think I improved,” he said.

Organizations: Corner Brook Rapids Swim Club

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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