Dallas Walker continues to have early success in her new sport.
Walker last fall, in just her second competition, won four medals at the Commonwealth Lifesaving Championships at Canberra, Australia.
Now the 24-year-old Fort Macleod woman is heading to France in September to compete in the lifesaving sport world championships.
“I am still considered new to this sport and that pushes me to be the best that I can in the sport,” Walker said. “It pushes me to compete against myself to see how fast I can go, how far I can get in this sport.”
“I believe that with extra training, and becoming more and more familiar with big competitions like this one my performance will only get better,” Walker added. “I find myself excited to get up in the mornings and train, and excited to see the improvements that I continue to make.”
Lifesaving sport is composed of a series of events based on activities that are part of a life guard’s work.
Walker recently won eight medals at provincials, including a gold in simulated emergency rescue competition.
Walker also claimed silver in 100-m rescue relay, obstacle relay, manikin relay and medley relay.
The Fort Macleod woman also won bronze in 200-m obstacle, 200-m super lifesaver and 100-m tow with fins at the provincial championships.
At the national championships Walker was part of a relay team that won bronze in the obstacle and medley relays.
Walker also placed fourth in 100-m rescue medley and 200-m super lifesaver, shaving eight seconds off her personal best time.
In addition to pool lifesaving events, Walker will take part in the surf competition in France, which presents different challenges.
“I am used to training and competing in a pool setting so I am more than comfortable,” Walker said. “Surf is a very different side of the sport. We will be competing in the ocean and through almost any weather conditions which may mean the water can be quite rough at times.”
“I am not very comfortable in open water so this will be a test for me and a mental competition more than physical.”
Walker was not named to the Canadian team due to her inexperience in surf lifesaving, but will instead compete at part of the Alberta delegation.
Walker doesn’t yet know which events she will compete in since swimmers are limited to just three events in France.
Walker has qualified for every event but the coaches will decide where she will compete.
“Being that super lifesaver and rescue medley are my best events I believe I will be swimming them,” Walker said.
Walker has been training for the surf events by swimming in area lakes and will join some of the Calgary swimmers to train in Lake Bonavista.
The five foot 10, 164-pound Walker has been swimming since she was just six months old and was a member of the competitive Kilarney club in Calgary for nine years.
Walker has now tailored her overall training to meet the demands of lifesaving sport.
“I have definitely spent a vast majority of my training so far on strength,” Walker explained. “This sport is unlike competitive swimming in that strength is absolutely key. A full manikin weighs as much as the average adult and carrying it through the water takes a lot of strength.”
“I have also been working on my technique so that the new strength that I have gained can be utilized more effectively through the water.”
There isn’t much money available for lifesaving sport athletes, so Walker must pay $4,000 to cover her flight to France, the hotel room and team uniform.
Walker is looking for sponsorship and donations to help fund her trip, and the team is organizing a silent auction.
Anyone who wants to contribute to Walker’s fund-raising campaign can contact her by phone at 403-894-7186 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tax receipts can be issued.