It makes me smile ear to ear when I speak to young athletes who are mature beyond their years and who seem to have much of the mental game on lockdown.
Cody Evans is such an athlete.
Cody is a 16-year-old student at Institut collégial Vincent Massey Collegiate. She’s in Grade 11 and is in her seventh season as a member of the Manitoba Marlins Swim Club.
Her specialty is freestyle and she’s also an assistant captain, an honour she takes very seriously.
"Part of my responsibilities include being supportive of teammates. If something is wrong to approach them in a mature way," Cody says.
"Talk to them after a bad race, be there for them. Lead cheers at swim meets, those types of things."
Cody is supremely dedicated to what she does. From Monday to Saturday each week she trains for 16.5 hours in the water, with an additional four hours of dry land training. Work that around her school schedule and Cody is not left with much downtime.
"The swimming itself keeps you busy and active, the schedule teaches you to manage time."
Managing time is essential for athletes who are also full-time students, both in high school and if they continue on to college or university.
"I would like to go to the U.S. for college on an athletic and academic scholarship. I want to go into the arts, not sure which path, but I like photography and design" Cody says.
When I asked Cody what her favourite part of competing is, she had a very interesting and healthy response.
"I enjoy the feeling after a really good race", she began, "even if my time wasn’t my best time, but I swam it technically well and gave it all I had, I can still be happy with it."
Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers kicker Troy Westwood is co-host of The Big Show, every weekday morning from 6 to 10 a.m. on TSN 1290 radio. He writes about Winnipeg’s unsung sports heroes every other week in the Canstar Community News weeklies.