My name is David Sharpe, and swimming is my life! I started when I was a toddler in the frigid North-Atlantic Ocean. Most of my early exposure was at my grandparents’ cottages on the Northumberland Strait in New Brunswick and in Exploits Bay Newfoundland. Ever since then I have been immersed in water.
I started swimming competitively at the age of 6 with the Halifax Trojans Aquatic Club. Racing came naturally to me, and right from the start I was hooked! Although I played many other sports as a kid, swimming was the one for me.
When I was 9 years old, I heard of a swimmer named Ian Thorpe, who I heard was going to be the greatest swimmer of all time. Right then and there I decided that I wanted to race him. To do so, I concluded, I would have to go to the Olympics. So naturally, I decided that I would make the 2000 Olympic team, at the age of 10. Needless to say, I missed that one. But now I had a dream, and that dream stuck with me for the next 12 years.
I continued to improve and grow as an athlete and as a person over the next decade. I won gold at the Canada Games, Canadian age group Nationals, Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships, and at the Eastern Canadian Championships. But I still had one competition to master: I had never won the largest competition in the country, the Senior National Championships.
2011 was a difficult year for me. Swimming was not going as well as I wanted, and I wasn’t enjoying school. For the first time, I questioned whether I was doing the right thing with my time. I was faced with a decision: continue on the same path and hope things would turn around, or make a change in my life. I knew the Olympics was one year away and that was where I had always wanted to compete. I decided to make a one year plan: built on the foundation of my 12 year swimming career, I would try to make the Canadian Olympic team.
In 2012, I dedicated myself entirely to my Olympic dream. I took the year off school and traveled to training camps and competitions with money from my own pocket. I was the ultimate underdog. With less money, less experience, and fewer facilities then the rest of my competition, it was a long shot. But on April 3rd of that year, I took on the country at the Canadian Olympic trials. After 12 years of hoping and training, I had made it within one step of my dream. From lane 8, the outermost lane, I beat out the national record holder, and I won the race to earn the right to represent my country at the Olympics.
The Olympics was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I came 31st in my race, the 200 Butterfly on the 31st of August. I would have liked to swim faster, but the lessons I learned in that experience have changed me as a person. And, in the long run, they have prepared me for my next challenge: the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
To make that leap from international competitor to international threat, I need your help!
What do I need? As an amateur athlete I have many expenses and minimal funding. My primary expenses include travel, coaching, living expenses, and technical equipment. As a high performance athlete I am always looking for improvement, and for myself and high performance swimming in the region, I need a new underwater camera system and analysis software.
Our current system was a makeshift system created by a friend of mine and myself 4 years ago. This system is currently in use by the Dalhousie Varsity Team, the Halifax Trojans Aquatic club, Sport Center Atlantic, the Nova Scotia provincial team, and myself. Needless to say, the functionality of our original idea has been surpassed by its usage, and we are in need of an upgrade. For the province, and for myself, we need to have the technology to put us on par with any National center across the country to take the next step toward high performance.
Thank you for donating.
Our journey to Rio starts today!