Plante explained the event to me. "We are dealing in mannequins, it is more rescue based. So, instead of just swimming metres, we are having to swim down to the end of the pool as fast as we can, and then we are going to have to either pick up a mannequin from the bottom of the pool, and carry that mannequin back to the other side with a proper carry of how we are taught, or swim down to the end of the pool with a tow rope slung over our shoulder, then we have to clip that around the mannequin, and tow him back. There's other ones, where we have to swim to the wall dive underneath the water, swim 17 1/2 metres under the water before picking up a mannequin and towing him back."
Plante will be going into grade 12 next year at Matthew Halton High School. He has been a lifeguard at the Pincher Creek Pool for a year and a half. He's a member of the Max Bell Mantas, who call Lethbridge home. He's also an award winning Pincher Creek Dolphin. He participates in winter skiing, Hawks basketball, leadership programs, and video games. He's also a top-level academic. "It's a big year, to say the least," he said. "I'm trying to juggle diploma courses and swimming at the end of a year." He plans to go to university for accounting or business management."Something practical, hopefully."
How did he get the nod for the Canadian team? "I attended Nationals during the month of May (at the Kinsmen Sports Centre in Edmonton), and at that Nationals meet we were doing our competition and there were scouts there for the Canadian National Team. Based on our performance, and ethics, standings, they selected the team of four guys and four girls to attend these international competitions. Luckily enough, I was selected for the competition from November the 9 - 24 which is the Orange Cup, and the German Cup over in Europe." I asked Plante about the ethical component of the decision making process. "It s how you handle yourself in the water and around other people at the meet, and that kind of stuff."
He's "Definitely excited, I'm pumped as far as I can be. Especially about going to the Netherlands."
"Dolphins has been going amazing this year. I made best times in pretty much every single event I have swam, at every single meet. My hundred metre free I am a 1.00, and I am trying to crack that minute mark. That has been my personal goal, to break that minute mark by the end of the year."
Plante's latest focus as a swimmer has been on distance swimming "Pacing yourself. You don't want to go out super fast. Take your time, you want to have enough energy. Once you get around to the last 200 metres you want to give it all you got."
He practices Sundays at Max Bell in Lethbridge with the Mantas and attends regular Dolphins Swim Club events during the week. There are 15-20 seniors swimmers at the Max Bell and similar numbers for the Dolphins.
"The first time we really get to practice is when we're actually over in the Netherlands. Pretty much the first four of five days are actually us in the pool just practicing, getting used to each other." a few relay events events: mannequin, medley, and obstacle.
He is also coach for the Masters Instructed Adult Swim Club at the Pincher Creek Pool. "I teach them proper technique, train up their endurance, perfect their strokes, teach them the competitive side of swimming instead of just teaching them how to swim." Plante says people of any age are welcome if they can swim 50 metres.
He also warns the competitive swimming world that his brother Jarret is also an up and coming athlete to be reckoned with. He is already breaking most of my times, nowadays, so I wouldn't expect him to be too far behind (me)."
To participate in the international competitions comes at a steep price, Plante explained. "We are expected to pay for all the funds ourselves, so I'm expected to pay $3,500 in order to go for this trip. So it's not a free trip to the Netherlands and Germany, that's for sure." He's looking for sponsors. If you can help, contact him at 403-627-5378 (home) or 403-632-9711 (cell).