Local competitive synchronized swimmer Kia Risling has her eye on the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
The 15-year-old swimmer is hoping to make Team Alberta for the Games coming up next February.
“I have to try out for phase one and if I make phase one I have to go through phase two which is called figures, where we all do the exact same movement and get judged on it,” said Risling.
Risling was named Central Female Athlete of the Month in December by the Alberta Sport Development Centre – Central (ASDC-C).
The rising athlete has trained and competed in synchronized swimming since she was just eight years old.
And she tried everything to do with swimming before choosing to go the synchro route.
“I had done almost anything I could.”
Risling said she passed level 10 of swimming lessons when she was eight, and had done all the junior life guarding courses that she could, along with diving and pre-competitive lane swimming.
“I was just bored with everything and I didn’t know what else to do. My dad later found an ad in the paper to try synchronized swimming out,” she said, adding that she decided to give it a try.
The rest was history.
Compared to the other types of swimming, Risling said she likes synchro because of the team aspect.
“On the team you become a family, and you have to trust each other and you have to have faith in each other. If there’s no faith or trust in each other, certain movements or things you have to do don’t work.”
One such case of trust, she said, is when they do something called highlights, where they throw girls up in the air, and making sure there is the right positioning for no injuries is crucial.
At only 15 years old, Risling has had quite the list of accomplishments.
Last year, she was the Red Deer Silhouettes only National Athlete and competed in the 13-15 Solo category at Synchro Canada’s, National Qualifiers, Canadian Open and ESPOIR Championship events. She also made it onto Excel Synchro Club’s Junior National Team.
While at ESPOIR, Risling’s figure scores helped her earn a spot on Synchro Alberta’s Provincial Team.
She said looking back, her proudest moment was making it onto the team in Edmonton. She was in the age category 13-15, but as their 13-15 category was full, she had to try out for their junior team, a 16-18 category.
“Everyone was older than me and I was really scared to do it, but I got there and I just did my hardest and they all accepted me,” she said.
Risling also spent this past summer training in Calgary on the provincial team, and competed at the SYNC competition where the team earned a bronze medal.
And she takes her training seriously. While training in Calgary, Risling had to train for a month in July six days a week, six hours a day.
To make it even busier, she also did online schooling to get ahead for high school.
“You’ve got to learn how to balance things and time management,” she said.
Risling currently travels to Edmonton every weekend to train, and swims about five to six days a week for about two to four hours at a time depending on the day.
She also practices at the Recreation Centre downtown in Red Deer.
When it comes to her spare time, Risling sums it up to eating, sleeping and swimming.
She is currently attending St. Joseph High School.