ENCOURAGING - Paralympian Tammy Cunnington shares her story with Ecole Lacombe Upper Elementary School students recently.

ENCOURAGING - Paralympian Tammy Cunnington shares her story with Ecole Lacombe Upper Elementary School students recently.

Paralympian Tammy Cunnington inspires local students

Success is about 'finding joy' in the things you do with your life

  • Nov. 17, 2016 7:00 p.m.

BY KALISHA MENDONSA

Lacombe Express

Accomplished Paralympian Tammy Cunnington spent time with the youth of École Lacombe Upper Elementary School (ELUES) during a recent presentation, where she shared her story of success.

Cunnington is a former para-triathlon athlete who switched to competitive para-swimming in 2014, after the para-triathlon was removed from Paralympic games. She has since accomplished a great deal in a short time in her career as a competitive swimmer.

Cunnington had an amazing year shattering a number of her personal records at the 2016 Canadian Paralympic Swimming Trials. Last year, Cunnington saw great success at the 2015 Parapan American (Am) Games held in Toronto, where she snagged three medals, silver in the 200m freestyle and bronze in the 100m freestyle and 4x50m freestyle relay. She also set North and South America records at the same event for the 50m butterfly event.

As of May 2016, Cunnington also holds Canadian records in the 50m and 100m freestyle category and 50m butterfly.

This year, Cunnington competed in the 2016 Rio Paralympic games, placing 11th in the 50m butterfly, 150m individual medley and 50m freestyle events and 13th in the 50m breaststroke.

“My rise in swimming has happened very quickly. I switched from para-triathlon to swimming in 2014 and once I made that switch, it was only six months before I made the national championship team to compete at the 2015 Parapan Am Games,” Cunnington said with a small laugh.

“It was about another six months until I competed in Toronto at the Parapan Am Games. All said and done, it was only about 18 months before I made the Rio Paralympic team. It’s been quite a quick ride for me, but there is still lots for me to learn and grow from.”

Cunnington was invited to ELUES to inspire the students and she explored how dedication, passion and perseverance are really the most important aspects in finding joy in life. She was invited as part of the student’s health and wellness fair as a keynote speaker.

“My goal with the kids is to show them what it outside of the limitations they think they have or what other people have put on them whether those kids are ‘able’ or not. I want to show them you have to find things in life you are passionate about and want to do, and that brings a better quality of life overall,” she said.

“The health and wellness aspect makes me happy and fitness is a passion for me. However, success doesn’t have to be about being fit or healthy but it’s really about finding joy in the things that you do with your life. With the presentations, I really focus on perseverance, hard work and dedication in all aspects of life.

“We may not be the best at the things we love, but we can always improve in what makes us happy. There are always ways to improve and to put in more time and there are so many benefits for hard work at the end.”

Cunnington was a figure skater prior to an accident that left her a paraplegic, with the full use of her right arm plus core and shoulders. At six years old, she was struck by an airplane at an air show in Ponoka. She has never let this stop her from maintaining her love of health and fitness and inspiring others to pursue the same.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Premier Jason Kenney says the provincial government is doing everything it can to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Travel prizes added to Alberta’s vaccine lottery

More than 40 travel rewards available for those who are fully vaccinated

Three calves were recently shot dead in Lacombe County near Mirror. (Photo from Facebook)
Calves shot and left for dead in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP investigating three shootings

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Most Read