The Paralympic video games are a showcase for unbelievable athletes who’ve confronted unbelievable adversity and like every athletes, generally they want an additional push to unlock their full potential.
For Saskatoon Lasers para swimmer Nikita Ens, that push got here properly earlier than the Paralympics have been even on her radar.
“Para swimming began when my dad stated I used to be too fats and I ought to cease consuming my emotions. So yeah the very subsequent day mother took me to the pool,” Ens stated with amusing.
Little did she know on the time, however that little bit of powerful love, delivered as solely a mother or father might, set Ens on a path to Tokyo.
Simply 4 years after her introduction to para swimming, the 32-year-old is now set to compete in three occasions on the Video games.
“I used to be trying by means of a reminiscence guide that I wrote in Grade 12, and I’ve my college image with some dream bubbles and the Olympic rings. I all the time needed to go and watch the Olympics and now I’m going to the Paralympics as a competitor. It’s simply type of mind-blowing,” she stated.
In 2014, Ens was concerned in a automobile crash close to her hometown of Meadow Lake, Sask., that left her a C5 paraplegic.
Like so many others confronted with a traumatic, life-changing occasion, she struggled to come back to phrases together with her new actuality.
An energetic one who had competed in monitor and area in highschool, labored as a lifeguard and as soon as cycled throughout Canada, she seemed for brand new actions that would supply a bodily outlet.
“I had finished just a little little bit of wheelchair monitor and area and I competed in Arizona and even made the requirements for Rio (2016) however I simply didn’t prefer it. So then after that I give up monitor and began consuming my emotions,” she stated.
“Then dad gave me that important kick within the butt and I’m grateful that it’s led me to para swimming.”
Ens discovered a way of peace and goal within the pool.
“In swimming you may get out of the chair and it’s identical to a little bit of freedom within the water. Your limbs transfer a bit extra and you’ll stretch,” she stated.
Ens joined the Lasers in 2017 and beneath the steerage of her coach, Eric Kramer, she started her journey to the Paralympics.
“For the primary few months coaching with the Lasers, Eric would get into the pool and work with the para athletes and see what muscle fibres perform and he develops a personalised tailor-made plan to each particular person,” she stated.
By 2019, Ens was competing on the World Para Swimming Championships in London, the place she raced in 4 occasions, qualifying for 2 finals and reducing her personal Canadian file within the 100-metre freestyle S3.
Tokyo was now in her sights however then got here the coronavirus. Whereas the pandemic definitely threw a wrench in her plans, having the Video games delayed by a full 12 months could have been a blessing in disguise.
“To turn into an elite (para sport) athlete while you’ve been an (able-bodied) grownup is a really exhausting change and she or he’s tailored very properly, so this one-year delay has given her extra time to essentially focus and turn into extra of an elite athlete,” Kramer defined.
In June, Ens traveled to Germany to compete in a para swimming World Sequence occasion, her first worldwide meet in months. She set new private finest instances within the 200-metre freestyle S3 and the 100-metre breastroke SB2, the latter of which additionally established a brand new American file.
Now she’s able to share the world’s largest stage with tons of of different athletes who perceive what it takes to get there.
“I’m trying ahead to seeing athletes from world wide as a result of each particular person has their very own story they usually’re inspiring in their very own approach. It’s simply so encouraging to be in that place,” she stated.
And none of it might have been doable with out that preliminary push.
“It’s an excellent reminder not to surrender even within the hardest, darkest, most hopeless instances. Press ahead as a result of the valley goes to finish and I’m actually grateful for the place it’s led.”
© 2021 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.