Pisces member all set for Western Canada Summer Games

David Dunn loves life in the fast lane.

Whether it's the butterfly, freestyle, the 200-metre individual medley, the backstroke or the breaststroke, Dunn loves them all.

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When he first jumped into the pool as a 15-year-old, he had never had a swimming lesson. Now 23, he has come a long way.

Next month, the Prince George Pisces Swim Club member flies off to Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) to compete at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games as one of four Special Olympic B.C. athletes chosen to represent the province. He's part of Team B.C. along with generic-sport athletes and is competing in the Special Olympics divisions.

"I'm pretty excited about going. I want to set some personal bests, win a medal and have fun," said Dunn.

Competing in a national pool is nothing new for Dunn. He has represented B.C. at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada National Games in Vancouver and the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que.

In Wood Buffalo, he'll compete in the 50 and 100-metre freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke. While he can hold his own in them, the butterfly and IM aren't part of the competition.

As a full-time member of the Pisces, Dunn treats his swimming as serious business. He's at the Aquatic Centre five days every week - five 90-minute workouts at night, to go along with 60-minute morning sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays (6:15 a.m. in May and June, 7:15 a.m. in July and August). It also involves hour-long dryland training sessions twice per week.

"I like the morning swims the best, then we can go for breakfast afterwards," said Dunn.

"He is so dedicated he won't miss a morning swim," added Lorne Dunn, David's dad. "He gets everything ready the night before for swim practice and his snacks. He won't miss a practice unless we're out of town."

On weekends during the summer, the younger Dunn competes with the Pisces at meets around the province. Last weekend the team was in Quesnel. On July 18-19, they're in Dawson Creek, before returning home to host their own meet on July 25.

In Quesnel, Dunn posted two personal bests out of the four events he swam. Since 2014, he has shaved 10 seconds off his time in the 200 IM.

At a recent B.C. Swim camp, he perfected his six dolphin kicks so he can stay underwater longer (called streamlining) on his turns and when he dives off the blocks.

"I think I can go faster on my strokes," he said. "I've gotten better."

He also loves racing and the Pisces.

"I feel fit and pretty happy when I finish a race," he said. "The Pisces coaches and swimmers and parents are nice."

"He's just really improved swimming with the Pisces, and the coaches have been great," added Lorne Dunn. "And his fitness, he's really picked it up."

And the Pisces love him too.

At the end of 2014 after his first full season with the team, he received the spirit award.

"He never even had a swimming lesson before, but it's his enthusiasm and he's worked hard," mom Suni said of her son's progress in the pool. "He's an inspiration to everybody."

As part of the Special Olympics program, Dunn keeps a daily journal tracking his workouts and nutrition.

When he's not in the pool, he can be found working out in the gym with his brothers or playing basketball from October to May with the Prince George Special Olympics team.

He loves watching the UNBC Timberwolves basketball squad and goes to as many home games as he can at the Northern Sport Centre. Last year, Dunn and the Special Olympics team even got a chance to practice with the men's team, then play an exhibition game during intermission at the T-wolves' last home game of the season.

The Western Canada Summer Games are from Aug. 7-16.

Dunn leaves for Fort McMurray from Vancouver on a charter plane on Aug. 11. He competes in the pool from Aug. 13-16.

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