Who would’ve ever thought not having a coach for a 12-year-old boys’ baseball team could eventually lead to national gold medals?
That’s how it worked for Morgan Sibley. Sibley, originally from Bonnyville, Alta., is now a Royal Canadian Mountain Police officer in Glaslyn. He makes the 45-minute drive to North Battleford daily to train at the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre and that dedication and new commitment to swimming helped him capture four medals at the 2012 Canadian Masters Swimming Championship in Kelowna.
“I was a high strung kid growing up,” said Sibley on how he got started in competitive swimming. “I played baseball and then one year there wasn’t a coach, so I couldn’t play ball that year. My parents figured they had to find something for me to do to settle me down and help give me some discipline.”
That something was swimming and, with the successful swimming program in Bonnyville it took Sibley a year to really get into the sport. He then jumped into the pool with both feet and moved up the ranks competitively until he was 18.
“The first year I swam I didn’t really care for it. The next year I fell in love with it and it has been a part of me ever since,” said Sibley.
After graduating from high school Sibley didn’t compete, but coached swimming instead. Eventually he signed up for the RCMP and was posted up north. At his first location he didn’t have an opportunity to continue swimming. After moving to Glalsyn at the end of September Sibley knew he wanted to get back in the water.
“It is kind of like riding a bike. The first little while I was a little shaky, but you still always have it. You need to get your endurance back to where it was and fine-tune your stroke.”
Fine-tune his stroke he did. Sibley won two gold medals and two bronze medals at nationals May 18 to 21. He was first in the 100 and 200m breast strokes, third in the 50m free and 50m breast stroke and fourth in the individual medially.
Sibley said he trained himself to peak form for nationals and likely won’t compete again until the fall. He is still training on daily basis in North Battleford, working around his day and night shifts at the Glaslyn RCMP detachment.
Sibley trains on his own and credits his previous swim coach and program for being able to prepare for events.
“I rely on my experience. I was pretty lucky growing up that I had a really good swim coach. I have a pretty good knowledge of it.”
Sibley is looking forward to next season when he plans to compete for nationals and worlds again at the masters level. He is also looking forward to the new Co-op Aquatic Centre in the CUPlex. The convenient schedule that the new facility should offer will allow him to intensify his training and properly prepare to compete in three to six events per year and for worlds.
Although most swimmers have to train on their own, Sibley says it is a sport that could become more popular. “All you need is a positive attitude and to think you can do something and then just go out there and do it.”