Retired World Champion and Olympian Brittany Reimer has another honour to add to her list of achievements.
She’s one of three people who were inducted into the B.C. Swimming Hall of Fame last month.
Reimer, 25, received the honour Sept. 21 at a joint awards banquet hosted by the British Columbia Swim Coaches Association and Swim BC in Whistler, where she was introduced by her former Surrey Knights Swim Club coach, Cory Beatt.
Beatt spoke of her undying determination, exemplified by her “rather modest initial performances” at the provincial, Western Canadian and national level, describing how in each arena she rose to the top.
It’s a quality that shone through early on, when she found herself on the bottom rung of the Surrey Knights at age 10, having left the Cloverdale Tritons Swim Club.
“It was like starting from scratch again,” Reimer recalled Tuesday. “I was starting with new kids, a new team.”
Asked where she found that determination that made her a champion, she says it’s partly from her parents.
Her dad is “super hard-working,” she says, and her mom is a cancer survivor who was first diagnosed when Reimer was just age 7 or so.
“I don’t know if it’s related. Who knows?” she says. “It’s part of that don’t-give-up, keep-moving-forward attitude.”
She also cites the guiding influence of her Knights coach (“Cory was like a second father to me, because I saw him, like, four hours a day”), former teammates and others, all working to support her goals.
Reimer’s determination pushed her all the way to the national team, where she was the youngest member by far. Despite her age, she was a star, in 2003 placing fourth in 800 freestyle and sixth in 1,500 freestyle at the world championships. In reporting Reimer’s induction, SwimSwam.com called her “The Queen of distance swimming in Canada from 2003 to 2007.”
She was just 16 when she competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. She finished in 17th spot in the 800 meter freestyle – not quite the medal she’d been working for, but more success lay ahead.
She won silver in the 800 and bronze in the 1,500 at the 2005 World Aquatic Championships in Montreal. The times she posted – 8:27.59 in the 800 and 16:07.73 in the 1,500 remain the Canadian records.
“I think they’re the oldest, now, on the books. I want someone to break them,” she says, so they can “have that experience for themselves.”
She has no regrets about retiring at a relatively young age. “I felt like, for my life, I had finished that chapter,” she says. “I knew I had the potential to move on to something else. It’s so much work, and it’s so hard on your body. When you’re done, you’re done.”
She’s still grateful for the support of Cloverdale residents, who helped ensure her parents were able to travel to Greece to watch her in Athens. A big fundraiser was held at her school, Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.
“I wouldn’t have gone where I did if we didn’t have the support of everybody else around us,” she says. “I’m just so lucky to have been at the level I was in my sport. I got the opportunity to meet so many people.”