A handful of Oak Bay youth are among the 2,400 athletes set to descend on the Cowichan Valley for the BC Summer Games this week. Oak Bay sailor Max Chapman is one of them.
Chapman, who trains at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club heads to the Games Thursday to compete in sailing. The RVYC will also be represented by its coach and sailing program coordinator, Stephen McBride, who is going as head sailing coach for zone 6 (Vancouver Island-Central Coast), and Chapman’s coach Delani Hulme-Lawrence, as assistant sailing coach for zone 6.
“We have seven athletes going to the BC Summer Games from our club as well as the rest of zone 6,” said Hulme-Lawrence, who coaches the Royal Victoria Yacht Club Optimist (Opti) team. “I coached at the last BC Summer Games in Abbotsford where our athletes sailed at the Harrison Hot Springs. It was a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to taking our athletes to the Maple Bay Yacht Club this year.”
The Optimist is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for children up to the age of 15. Chapman, who has been sailing for about seven years, normally competes in the Optimist Blue fleet for sailors 11 and 12 years old. At the BC Games, the age categories are divided as Optimist (under 15) and Youth (under 19).
“Max has been on our race team for almost two years. He’s from Halifax, but he has sailed all over,” said Hulme-Lawrence. “He’s wonderful. He’s really, really come a long way since the start of the year – in maturity and behaviour, performance, all around. I think the sport has done him a lot of good.”
“I’m super excited about going to BC Games,” said Chapman. “I’m really looking forward to all the events that are happening, like the ceremonies and all the good stuff.”
Chapman trains twice a week – after school on Wednesdays and all day on Sundays – and more when a regatta is coming. Two weeks ago he was in Squamish, racing as part of the BC Circuit Regattas to qualify for the Canadian Championships, which he looks forward to attending in August.
“It’s just really fun getting out on the water,” said Chapman. “My favourite part is just being on the water in beautiful weather. It’s good exercise.”
Eighteen different sports will be on display at the BC Summer Games, from baseball and golf to wrestling and sailing.
The BC Games, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, has been the starting point for many Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Thirty-five alumni competed for Canada in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, including Georgia Simmerling (cycling), Kirsten Sweetland (triathlon), Jamie Broder (beach volleyball), Evan Dunfee (race walk), and Byron Green (wheelchair rugby).
Sponsor Black Press Media will send a five-person team to cover the highlights. Check out oakbaynews.com website for full coverage during the Games (July 19 to 22).