Northumberland News article - October 17
PORT HOPE -- A Port Hope para swimmer and his coach have been named Ontario's best.
Isaac Bouckley, a 16-year-old swimmer with a club right foot, was named male para swimmer of the year by Swim Ontario. His coach, Eric Kramer, was named male para coach of the year by Swim Ontario.
Bouckley, who is a member of the Northumberland Aquatic Club, swims at the Jack Burger Sports Complex in Port Hope, and couldn't be more happy about the award.
"It feels pretty good," said Bouckley of the award.
Although Bouckley was excited to be named the province's best, he was also surprised he was chosen.
"There are so many great swimmers in Ontario," he said. "To be singled out from all of them is a great honour."
It has been a great year for the Port Hope swimmer.
On Feb. 16, he won three individual gold medals at the Central Ontario Secondary School Athletics championships, representing Port Hope High School.
In April, at the CAN-AM international para swim meet at the University of Minnesota, Bouckley placed third in the 50-metre freestyle (ranked 11th in the world), placed third in the 100m freestyle (ranked 10th in the world), and placed fourth in the 400m freestyle (ranked 8th in the world). Since the meet, and other races by other para swimmers, Bouckley has seen his world ranking slide to 18th in the 50 metre, 18th in the 100m, and 17th in the 400m.
And finally on Aug. 14, the NORAC swimmer represented Canada at the Pan-Pacific para-swimming championships in Edmonton. Bouckley placed fourth in the 400m freestyle, achieving the time standard for the 2012 London Paralympics.
If he does the same at the Canadian trials in Montreal in March 2012, he will officially qualify for the London Paralympic Games.
But don't think Bouckley's latest accolade will deter him from keeping focused on the Canadian trials.
"I don't think it will distract me," said Bouckley. "If anything, it's encouraging me to continue the way I have been going and to keep pushing myself to go faster."
Kramer called his award a great honour for himself and the NORAC swim club.
"To get such an award this means that your work is recognized," said Kramer. "It sure make me feel good."
He added the accolades for Bouckley and himself will be good for the para-swim school which NORAC offers.
And while happy about his award, Kramer couldn't help thank those who surround him. Kramer said his peer para coaches, the para national team, as well as his own vision, focus, stubbornness and his will to constantly change, all had a hand in his success.
Kramer said Bouckley's award has already had an impact on all levels of the NORAC swim club.
"I am sure that this will inspire kids out there who may have disabilities to inquire about our para Swim School," said Kramer.
Bouckley said Kramer's award is well deserved.
"He does a great job of coaching me, and I would not be where I am today without him," said Bouckley. "He knows what I can and cannot do, and he treats me equally. I work just as hard as everyone else."
For more information on the NORAC swim club, visit www.swimnorac.com