One little fish is swimming from Quesnel waters all the way to Halifax. Elise Jonasson is that fish. The local athlete is competing in the 14U Female Swimming category at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) on now in Mi’kmaq territory.
“I just want to swim to the best of my abilities,” said Jonasson. “There are two events: the 4×100 Free Relay and the 100-metre Breaststroke.”
Elise started swimming at nine years of age. According to her father, Rob, “The Quesnel Waveriders Swim Club partnered with (national Indigenous sport agency) ISPARC and invited Indigenous kids to join them to ‘try it out’ and she hasn’t stopped since. She’s competed across the province, has been to the BC Summer Games and now she gets to represent B.C. at NAIG in Halifax. It’s a success story for ISPARC and proof that sports can take you places, even at a young age. She’s had amazing coaches every step of the way and they all deserve a lot of credit.”
Earning a spot in the massive NAIG event “reflects the hard work I’ve put in and all the training I’ve done,” she said. She is excited about the level of competition she’ll be in the same pool with, and hopes to make friends with some of these other athletes.
“I’m looking forward to learning about other cultures and I’m really proud to represent B.C.,” she said.
In addition to the Waveriders, she is also a member of the Williams Lake Blue Fins Swim Club and plays soccer as well for the Quesnel Strikers (among many other sports).
Jonasson is a member of the Westbank First Nation. She also thanked the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Lhtako Dene First Nation, and ISPARC for their support.
EDITOR’S NOTE: During the NAIG events, Jonasson competed in the 100-metre freestyle, 50- and 100- and 200-metre breastroke races, the 50-metre butterfly, the 200-metre individual medley, and the 4×50-metre medley relay.
She placed sixth in three events, seventh in one event, and her best results were 4th in the 50-metre breaststroke and winning the silver medal in the 4×50-metre medley relay.