Swimmer, soccer player set for action in week two of Canada Games
Brothers honoured to represent Nova Scotia
TRURO - The Canada Games will be a family affair for the Hunter brothers of Lower Harmony.
Sandy is an 18-year-old who plays centre midfield for the soccer team, while Matthew is a 21-year-old swimmer competing in five events next week in Charlottetown.
"It's quite an honour to go to such a competition," said Matthew, who has been swimming for about 13 years.
"It definitely adds to (the experience)," Sandy said regarding having his older brother competing in the Games at the same time. "You'd obviously be cheering for all the Nova Scotia athletes but there will be some extra here."
And fortunately the schedule has both the swimming and soccer events being held in Charlottetown with Matthew competing in the pool in morning and Sandy on the pitch in the evening.
The events are both taking part in the final week of the two-week extravaganza that celebrates the top young amateur athletes in the country. The young men come from an athletic family of seven and will have the encouragement and support in the stands when their events begin.
Both athletes found out about their inclusion in the Games in the spring and have been working hard all summer preparing for the pinnacle of their sporting careers.
"Even a few weeks ago it seemed (so far away)," Sandy said. "At this point you just want to get there and start competing."
Matthew creditted Keith Beaver, who was his first swim coach with the Special Olympics, for helping him grow as an athlete. "He got me started," he said.
Sandy has been to nationals twice in the past, once each with the under-14 and under-16 teams that finished sixth and fourth, respectively, with many of the same players that make up this year's Canada Games squad, which is coached by Truro's Rob Adams.
"We would really like to medal," Sandy said of the team's goal.
This week's performance by the men's basketball team, which knocked off Ontario in a semifinal contest on Thursday, shows Nova Scotia can compete against the larger provinces.
"There is obviously a huge difference in the provinces' size, but ultimately it does come down to one game," Sandy said.
He graduated in the spring from Cobequid Educational Centre and will be attending Iona College in New York in the fall studying business on an academic scholarship. He also will be playing on the college's soccer team.