Desbarats

CASS Athlete at RBC Training Ground

CASS Athlete at RBC Training Ground

Grade 9 CASS student Mikayla Winter from Desbarats recently traveled to Milton ON for one day of intense physical testing as part of the RBC Training Ground program.

RBC Training Ground at National Cycling Centre.
RBC Training Ground at National Cycling Centre.

Most people who watched the 2018 Winter Olympics would have seen ads for the RBC Training Ground Program. It’s “a talent identification and athlete funding program designed to uncover athletes with Olympic potential and provide them with the high-performance sport resources they need to achieve their podium dreams”.

Fifteen year old Mikayla spent several years doing competitive gymnastics, training up to 4 hours a day several days a week, until she developed asthma. She is coping with the asthma using daily puffers and focusing on sports that don’t have prolonged amounts of cardio.

Mikayla is on the CASS Dance squad, skates with the Shamrock Figure Skating Club, and does sprinting and jumping events on the CASS Track & Field team.

Mikayla’s mom, Teri, thought it would be a good opportunity for her daughter to find a new sport since RBC works with organizations like: Canada Snowboard, Canada Basketball, Cross Country Ski Canada, Wrestling Canada and Speed Skating Canada, Athletics Canada, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, Canoe Kayak Canada, Cycling Canada, Rowing Canada, Rugby Canada, Freestyle Canada, Judo Canada and Water Polo Canada, who are looking to recruit/train athletes for their programs.

Athlete Mikayla Winter at RBC Training Ground.
Athlete Mikayla Winter at RBC Training Ground.
photo by Teri Winter

She registered online and was accepted to attend a training ground held at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton on April 7th.  Teri and Mikayla said the facility was very impressive, with a huge gymnasium on the first level, a cycling velodrome on the second level, and spectator seating on the third level.  

Mikayla said, “I was super nervous when we showed up and I saw most of the athletes were way older than me, with big muscles, drinking fancy sport drinks.  The age range is 14-25, but most were out of high school and probably 18-21 years old.”

Athletes were weighed and measured and placed into groups for the testing. A couple of months in advance they received a list of possible tests so they could train, but only 4 were chosen from the list on test day. 30M sprint, vertical jump, isometric weight pull, and beep testing. “Beep testing was the hardest. I did it for about 20 minutes and was exhausted.”

Velodrome at National Cycling Centre.
Velodrome at National Cycling Centre.

Mikayla wondered what she'd gotten herself into, when she saw several athletes being taken away, some on stretchers, from injuries sustained during testing. However, she survived it all and is awaiting her test results, which she hopes will suggest possible new sports suited to her athletic abilities.

As part of the program, Mikayla was thrilled to meet Canadian Olympians: swimmer Michelle Williams, and ice hockey Paralympian Tyler McGregor. She was also offered a chance to cycle on the velodrome, but thought it looked too scary.