Former Regional District staff member and Christina Lake resident James Dergousoff is coming home from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Eng. with a silver medal.
Dergousoff swam the breaststroke leg for the Canadian entry in the 4 x 100m mixed medley relay on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Kylie Masse swam the backstroke, followed by Dergousoff, Maggie Mac Neil butterfly and Ruslan Gaziev anchored the freestyle leg, racing to a dramatic second-place finish in a time of 3:43.98, two seconds behind Australia, and 5/100 of a second in front of host England.
The 25-year-old swimmer was born and raised in Christina Lake, and now lives and trains in Quebec City but has a deep connection with the pool at the Grand Forks Aquatic Centre as well as the people who use and run it.
“As a toddler, I would take him to the aquatics centre to burn off all that excess energy,” said mom Theresa, whose family still use their place at Christina Lake despite having to leave the Boundary area in James’ teenage years due to work. “He was diving off the deep end before his third birthday and had enrolled himself in the local Piranhas speed swim club by Kindergarten.”
In the years since, the former RDKB fitness instructor and lifeguard has also used the vast expanse of water at Christina Lake, as well as the local pool at Grand Forks, for training.
During the pandemic, when public pools across the world closed, James moved back to the lake, bought a wetsuit and swam there to continue his preparations for that year’s Olympic trials.
The Grand Forks Recreation team recently commissioned renowned mural artist Paul Archer to paint a giant image of the Olympic hopeful swimming on the north end interior wall of the Aquatic Centre after the RDKB match funded the sponsorship received from local supporter, Dr. Mark Szynkaruk.
Dergousoff won the 100-m and 200-m breaststroke at the 2022 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials. His performances qualified him for the 2022 FINA World Championships and the 2022 Commonwealth Games.