stylist | Jennifer O'Bannon
photography | Andrew Gleason
makeup | Pearl Espinoza
Sixteen-year-old Canadian Olympic swimmer, Taylor Ruck, has a story dreams are made of...
The 6'1" beauty shared her experience of the day that she qualified for the Canadian Olympic Team. She began the 2016 Olympic Trials with bronchitis - not a good start. Her first event was the 200 freestyle, finishing 5th and within qualifying time, but they only take the top four. The second event was the 400 freestyle, in which she placed second but didn't meet the qualifying time. The Canadian officials considered her illness, perseverance, and winning career and decided to award her a coveted spot on the Olympic team! Taylor was elated. The following August in Rio, Taylor and her teammates would go on to win two bronze medals for Canada - the first women's freestyle swimming relay medals for the country in forty years.
Taylor's perseverance is obvious from her grueling training schedule. A normal day usually starts off with practice in the pool at 5:00 in the morning. After a full day of school, she is back in the water for two and a half hours. She wraps up the day with homework. When asked what her favorite indulgence was - she shared - eating anything chocolate! (Totally get that)
In five years, Taylor sees herself graduating college and preparing to start her career. She hopes to have returned from her second Olympics sporting more shiny medals around her neck. Her favorite takeaways from Rio are the new friends she made and the connections she has with people from all over the world. Born in Canada, she has lived and trained in the U.S. for most of her life. Through this Olympic experience, she now feels a strong connection with Canada. Pretty awesome, eh?
Reaching a high level in one's sport is incredibly difficult requiring dedication and countless hours of practice to get there; Taylor lives this everyday. So her advice for any young athlete is to keep practicing and never give up. Her belief that investing a large amount of time to accomplish one's dreams will ultimately pay off in the long run one way or another. Lastly she encourages everyone to enjoy the process, because if they have fun playing a sport, achieving their dreams are possible.