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Christin Petelski. Two-time Olympian and the Art of Winning.

Girl Warrior Stories| Views: 2241

Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, competitive swimmer, Christin Petelski, who followed her passions and tenaciously pursued her dreams to become a two-time Olympian. By the age of 15, Christin was attending competitions internationally to learn from the world’s best and gain that competitive advantage over other’s nationally in her field. At 19, she won her first national title, which earned her a spot on the 1996 Canadian Olympic team. In Atlanta, she reached the 200m breastroke final and swam to an 8th place finish. Four years later Christin went to her second Olympics in Sydney, Australia where she not only ended up with a 6th (4×100 medley relay), 10th (100m) and 12th (200m) place finish, but posted personal bests in each race as well. In 2006 Christin ended her 10-year tenure with the Canadian National team. During her time on the national team she completed a bachelor of science (BSc.) degree and upon retirement went back to school to finish a Master’s degree in Business Admin (MBA). Today, Christin is a marketing and digital engagement specialist with the BC Ministry of Health. She still remains active and spends most of her spare time outdoors; running, cycling, yoga, and SUP surfing. With a natural curiosity about our world, Christin travels every year to a new country that is picked off her bucket list!

What makes you a Girl Warrior?

A good friend told me this quote years ago and it has stuck with me ever since “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you want to go to bed with satisfaction – unknown.” I think about this for how I approach everything in my life – work, my health and wellbeing, travels, and maintaining good friendships. It’s a reminder to myself to always put in 100 per cent physically, mentally or emotionally even knowing that things may not go your way, but at least you can say to yourself that you tried and that I will work harder at it again tomorrow.

You represented Canada at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and again in 2000 in Sydney. Tell us about your “first time” competing at that level.

It was the first Canadian national team that I made and therefore never competed at an international level like that before. I remember being in awe of all these amazing athletes that I had heard about and looked up to for many years. So yes, it was a bit intimidating but I had a great coach and support system around me to remind me to embrace the moment and that all feelings of self-doubt, or fear must be left behind in order to reach my best on the day.

How did that experience change your career, your life?

The values that I learned from training and competing at such a high level – setting goals, experiencing failure, being part of a team, commitment to countless hours in the pool and conquering significant physical and mental hurdles to succeed at sport – gave me the tools that I need to approach everyday opportunities and challenges.

You were inducted into the UVic Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. What did that mean to you?

Being inducted into the UVic Sports Hall of Fame is such a great honour, especially since I now share this award with so many other amazing athletes and role models. Also, I was able to share that night with people that supported me throughout my athletic career; the university, my parents, coaches and teammates. It was nice to pay gratitude and say thank you.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I am a bit of a perfectionist so for me it’s just trying to navigate the intricacies of life while having fun and being comfortable just going with the flow.

What obstacles have you overcome and walls have you broken down? 

My transition from being a high performance athlete to figuring out the next phase in life and what a career would look like for me. I finished swimming a few years after I had graduated from university and knew that that career I wanted to pursue at 22 was not what I wanted to do at 28. Not only had I grown into someone different but I only knew myself as this athlete and not sure who I would be as someone now living what I called a “normal” life. It made me force myself to look inwards and re-define myself. I think that was the hardest part for me – digging deep and being honest and open with myself and at times exposed to very raw feelings and changes that were uncomfortable for me.

What would you say to your younger Girl Warrior?

You are on a journey, which means things will be constantly changing and at times may be painful or uncomfortable. So, don’t be afraid to look to those around you to ask questions and/or seek help because there are many amazing people in this world who are more than willing to share their stories and wisdom.

What would you say to future Girl Warriors looking for inspiration?

Make self-development a priority. Try new things, explore, ask questions, do things that excite you the most and lastly, be grateful – gratitude leads to more happiness and wellbeing!

Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s) and why?

My mom – just because she’s awesome in every way!

What’s next?

Good question. I have a lot of ideas that I want to pursue, but still in the exploratory phase right now to figure out what feels right. I think it will just come down to right timing and best fit.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’m not sure, but where ever I will be I hope it leads to a more amazing life than what I am already experiencing… which is pretty amazing already I must say!

What’s your definitive personal T-shirt message?

Dedication, Determination, Desire

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