OTTAWA – Resilient, coachable, focused and committed. These are words that Coach Ashley Almas uses to describe Owen Stoneburgh, one of five recipients of the Victor Davis Memorial Award for 2021-22.
The Victor Davis Memorial Fund was established in memory of Davis and continues to help inspire Canadian swimmers. Davis won four Olympic medals for Canada, including gold in the 200-m breaststroke at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.
A few months after his retirement from competitive swimming, Davis was killed in a hit-and-run incident at the age of 25.
Every year, Canadian swimmers are selected to receive a financial award from the Victor Davis Memorial Fund. This year’s recipients were awarded $1,500 each to help offset training costs in the pursuit of excellence.
Stoneburgh, a senior swimmer at the Golden Horseshoe Aquatic Club (GHAC), was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in October 2019. His diagnosis brought his season to a halt.
Now in remission from Crohn’s, Stoneburgh is back training nine times a week. He has also returned to racing for the first time since June 2019. For Stoneburgh, Victor Davis’s impact on Canadian swimming inspires him to be better every day.
“Victor Davis did a lot,” Stoneburgh said. “He performed really well and competed at a high level. Winning this award is really important to me. It will push me to be a better competitor and push myself to be at the national level. I look up to [Davis] and consider him a role model.”
Breckin Gormley, coached by Scott Faithfull of the Nepean Kanata Barracudas in Ottawa, will use the money he received from the Victor Davis Award towards his trip to the 2022 Canadian Swimming Trials in Victoria.
“I am very thankful to be chosen as a recipient of the Victor Davis Memorial Award,” Gormley said. “I will be using the award to help offset my travel to trials this April. I am very excited to get back racing against some of the best swimmers in Canada.”
Three more swimmers join Stoneburgh and Gormley as recipients of the Victor David Memorial Award for 2021-22:
Tristan Jankovics, Wellington County Waves
Coach: Haylie Burton/John Carey
Tristan Jankovics of Puslinch, Ont., qualified for Olympic Trials just before the start of the pandemic. Despite the challenges that came with lockdown, Jankovics stayed motivated in his training. Thankful to be back in the water, Jankovics is training both with his home club in Guelph, Ont., and the Ontario Swim Academy. His long-term goal is to represent Canada at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Camryn Stannard, Nanaimo Riptides
Coach: Scott Flood
Camryn Stannard of Parksville, B.C., has continued to improve on her best times coming out of the pandemic, including most at the recent Vancouver Island Regional Championships at the end of January. The 17-year-old is working to save up for post-secondary education on top of her full-time training in the pool. Stannard will be competing with the UBC Thunderbirds next season.
Emma Van Dyk, Golden Horseshoe Aquatic Club
Coach: Ashley Almas
Emma Van Dyk of Port Colborne, Ont., competed at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, where she won bronze in the 100-m butterfly S14. Van Dyk plans to put the award towards the cost of travel to attend the 2022 Canadian Swimming Trials in April.
The Victor Davis Fund was established in 1990 and relies on donations, large or small, to carry on the legacy of one of Canada’s most cherished swimmers. Members of the swimming community are encouraged to contribute at: https://www.swimming.ca/en/donations/