St. Albert para-swimming sensation Reid Maxwell finished his Canada Summer Games appearance in Niagara, Ont., with a total of five medals across seven events last week.
The Canadian Summer Games is an annual national competition for high-performance amateur athletes. The Games are comprised of 248 events in 17 different sports, spread across just two weeks of competition. Athletes competing in the Summer Games represent their home provinces.
On day one of the swimming competitions, Sunday, Aug. 7, 14-year-old Maxwell won gold in the 40-metre para freestyle event — the first gold medal for Team Alberta.
“It was neat to be first," Maxwell said over the phone from Niagara on Aug. 12 after finishing all of his events.
"We went to a medal ceremony where they had a stage and everything," Maxwell said. "There was a big ceremony for it which was cool, and they brought out local cadets to march flags up and everything."
Maxwell competes in para swimming events as the young athlete is a transtibial amputee. He was born without a lower right leg. He also has prune belly syndrome, also known as Eagle-Barrett syndrome, an uncommon disorder involving complete or partial absence of stomach muscles.
It wasn't long until Maxwell earned his second gold medal, which came in the 100-metre para freestyle on Aug. 8. His third and final gold came in the 50-metre freestyle on Aug. 11.
Maxwell's silver and bronze medals came in the 100-metre butterfly and 100-metre backstroke, respectively.
Reflecting on his time in Niagara, Maxwell said his first Summer Games has been a good experience.
“Overall, it’s really nice and it’s a really energetic area," he said. “The social aspect is nice, but the swimming is kind of the main focus.”
After five straight days of competitions, Maxwell said he was physically feeling fine, but mentally tired.
"I can tell that I’m low energy right now," he explained. "I don’t have the motivation to go out and do a bunch of stuff.
"It’s almost like a mental drain from all the swimming."
With Summer Games swimming events now complete, Maxwell has finished nearly three consecutive weeks of competitions. The swimming star also competed in the Junior and Senior Swimming Championships in Montreal between July 25 and Aug. 1.
Maxwell racked up six medals during the Junior and Senior Championships. He won silver in the 50-metre, 100-metre, and 400-metre freestyle races, and bronze in the 100-metre butterfly, 100-metre breaststroke, and in the 200-metre medley.
"It’s definitely starting to take its toll," Maxwell said of his recent string of national competitions. "I’m looking forward to going home, but it’s been fun and an interesting experience.
"Most people don’t get to go to Montreal and Niagara just to compete.”
When Maxwell returns home, he said he'll have some time to relax and recuperate before the competitive swimming season starts again in September.
Looking forward, Maxwell said one of his swimming goals is to make the Canadian national team, but until then he'll focus on one event at a time.
Other St. Albert medalists so far are Christiane Bilodeau, who won bronze as part of the Team Alberta mountain biking relay squad on Aug. 8, and Maya Flindall, who won gold as part of Alberta's women's basketball team on Aug. 13.
The Canada Summer Games continue through Aug. 21 as many sports have yet to begin competition.
Every sporting event and competition is live-streamed on the Niagara 2022 website. Athletes from the Greater Edmonton Racing Canoe Kayak Club, most of whom are from St. Albert, begin their events on Aug. 16.