Categorized | News, Sports

Fort Macleod woman named Athlete of the Year

dallas walker

Jeff Schultz of the Canadian Lifesaving Sport Commission presents the Athlete of the Year Award to Dallas Walker of Fort Macleod.

A Fort Macleod athlete is at the top of her sport in Canada.
Dallas Walker, 28, was named Female Athlete of the Year earlier this month by the Canadian Lifesaving Sport Commission.
Walker received the award June 3 during the nationals at Markham, Ont., where she also smashed an Alberta record by seven seconds.
“Female Athlete of the Year is pretty cool,” admitted Walker, who is in her fifth year of competition in lifesaving sport.
There is little time to dwell on that accomplishment, however, as Walker will travel with the national team to the world championships in Australia next fall.
Walker was nominated in May for the Female Athlete of the Year Award.
“I knew that I was nominated but I didn’t know that I was going to get it,” said Walker, who was one of three nominees for the award.
Walker’s mother, Louise, was at Markham to watch her daughter receive the award.
“I was very proud she got to see me get this award,” Walker said. “I always say she’s been my biggest supporter from Day 1.”
Walker competed in five events at nationals, and was not meeting her personal standards for performance in the pool.
Walker said she performed well in the preliminary races, but things fell apart during the finals.
At least until she lined up for the 100-meter mannequin carry with fins. Competitors swim 50 meters, dive to grab a mannequin, and race 50 meters back to the finish.
In that race Walker crushed the Alberta record, knocking seven seconds off the previous best time.
“I surprised myself with that race, and I surprised a lot of other people,” Walker said.
Walker won the gold medal with a time of one minute and one second, finishing eight seconds — or about two body lengths — ahead of her nearest competitor.
Walker experienced a feeling of calmness as she stood behind the blocks prior to the start of her record-breaking event.
“There were no nerves, there were no jitters,” Walker said. “It was just, let’s get in and let’s do this. Whatever happens, happens.”
That’s unusual for Walker, who typically has to focus and get fired up before each race.
“This race, I was just calm,” she said. “I don’t know how, but I would like to feel that way before every race.”
Walker knew she was leading the race when she reached the mannequin
“I knew I had the gold. It was just, let’s make a statement.”
Walker found she had plenty of energy and strength left at the end of the race, and was surprised to see her time.
“I was just so excited.”
Walker credits the strong result to the work she does to train for lifesaving sport.
“I really changed my training,” Walker said. “I’m taking more care with recovery, more care with flexibility and I’m doing Crossfit in Pincher Creek.”
Walker took up Crossfit in February at the urging of a lifesaving sport teammate who lives at Pincher Creek.
She travelled to Pincher Creek twice a week for Crossfit training, on top of her four weekly workouts at Third Wave Fitness and four days training in the pool.
“I think it helped me, especially in that event with fins on,” Walker said of Crossfit. “I think with the extra strength and extra stamina it did help.”
In her other events at nationals Walker earned two third-place finishes, one fifth and one eighth.
Walker will continue her training regime for the next five months as she prepares for the world competition at Australia.
Walker’s first tour with the Canadian was in September 2013 in Canberra, Australia so she’ll mark her five-year anniversary with a return trip in November.
Lifesaving sport athletes do not receive any financial support, so Walker must raise more than $4,000 to pay her own way to Australia.
Anyone who wants to contribute financially can contact Dallas Walker at dallas.walker@hotmail.com, or at work at His and Her Hair and Spa or Crazy Stitch.

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