Rode: De Jonge has star like qualities

It would be unfair to compare Zoe De Jonge with Canadian swimming star Penny Oleksiak, but there is one striking similarity — her height.

Oleksiak, who grabbed the attention of a country with her outstanding performance at the Summer Olympics, is listed at close to six-foot-two. The 13-year-old De Jonge is already six-foot.

Her height and reach will only benefit De Jonge as she continues her growth in the pool.

“I was always tall for my age and being tall helps a lot, especially in the backstroke,” she said. “I have a longer reach than most of the swimmers I’m up against.”

The Sylvan Lake native, who swims for the Sylvan Lake Nauticals, is proving to be one of the top backstrokers in the country for her age class, despite only starting to concentrate on the stroke last July.

“I started with the butterfly and freestyle and last year I got into the backstroke, which I’m stronger at now.”

De Jonge was into dance, but turned her attention to swimming when she was eight.

She developed quickly, and, by her second year with the Sylvan Lake Club, she was competing at the top level under coach Trevor Burns.

De Jonge competes locally, provincially and at the Canadian age group junior national level.

At age 10, De Jonge was dominating the age group provincials in the freestyle.

This past year she competed at the Alberta Summer Games and qualified provincially for the Western championships in Calgary and the Canadian Age Group championships in Toronto.

She finished in the top 10 in all her finals at the Summer Games, winning the 200-metre backstroke, placing second in the 100m backstroke and third in the 50m backstroke and 100m freestyle. At the provincials she was third in the 100 and 200m backstroke and in the top 10 in all her finals.

Last year, she had a fifth in the U12 100 and 200m backstroke at the Canadian Age Group Nationals.

With this year’s Canadians in Toronto, Zoe would like nothing more than to meet Oleksiak.

Just Posted

Red Deer’s 2017-2021 council sworn in

Mayor and council ready to serve for the next four years

Red Deer’s Salvation Army vehicles vandalized twice in six weeks

Police investigating Sept. 10 and Oct. 21 incidents

Update: More details released of fatal police-involved shooting near Alix

ASIRT says man rammed police car, injured officer

Influenza vaccine clinics get started across Red Deer, Central Alberta

Clutching stuffed animals they got from the Calgary Zoo, Owen and Alton… Continue reading

Replay: Red Deer

Watch the highlights from this week

Montreal prepares for “Cohen Week” as first anniversary of singer’s death looms

Three sets of crumbling concrete steps have just been fixed heading into… Continue reading

Montreal prepares for “Cohen Week” as first anniversary of singer’s death looms

His soulful poetry, distinctive baritone and knack for writing runaway hit songs… Continue reading

Sylvan’s talent on display for fundraising show

Sylvan Lake Refugee Project is hosting Sylvan’s Got Talent Nov. 3

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month