This Sunday nine Special Olympics swimmers will compete in a regional qualifier at Chimo Pool in Coquitlam.
"This qualifier is part of the process of choosing which athletes will be able to represent Ridge Meadows at the provincials, which only takes place once every four years," explained Elizabeth Rosenau, head coach of aquatics, Ridge Meadows Special Olympics.
"Many of our athletes want the opportunity to go to provincials and are challenging themselves with difficult races, such as 200-metre freestyle, or 100-metre individual medley, and to try to leave an impression on the judges," added Rosenau.
The nine swimmers range in age from 19 to 53. As the oldest of the team, 53-year-old Richard Niesman has been acting as assistant coach and volunteer for the last year, said Rosenau.
"Nevertheless, he decided to challenge himself with a 25-metre freestyle and a 25metre backstroke race and, who knows, they might want him at provincials."
The youngest competitor is Alyssa Vanderklok, 19, who will swim the 100metre freestyle, 50-metre backstroke, 25metre breaststroke, and 100-metre individual medley.
This will be 20-year-old Clinton Forster's second swim meet. He will compete in the 25-metre freestyle and 25-metre backstroke.
Jennifer Ireland, 30, will swim the 50metre freestyle and 50-metre backstroke.
Matthew Bueschkens is 25 and he will be competing in the 50-metre freestyle, 25metre backstroke, 25-metre breaststroke, and 25-metre butterfly.
Kyle Jarrett, 27, will compete in four races: the 100-metre freestyle, 25-metre backstroke, 25-metre breaststroke, and 25metre butterfly.
Nathan Baerg, 21, will be competing in the 25-metre freestyle and 25-metre backstroke.
The longest possible race - a 200-metre freestyle - will be swum by 22-year-old Jeramy Huskins, which he conquered last month at a meet at UBC. He will also be competing in the 50metre backstroke, 50-metre breaststroke, and 25-metre butterfly.
Marianne Borenko, 38, will compete in the 25metre freestyle and 25metre backstroke.
"This will be a long and exciting day for all of us and we are hoping that our performances are clean enough to avoid disqualification," said Rosenau.
"We worry most about the breaststroke and butterfly events when it comes to disqualifications. Sometimes in the excitement of the race itself, an athlete will forget the importance of two-handed touches, and will put in an awesome performance that ends up not counting," she explained.
"Alyssa [Vanderklok] has been disqualified the last two times she has attempted the individual medley, much to her dismay. Her times are great, but at qualifying events like this one, the referees are as tough as they would be with generic swimmers and nobody who swims a sloppy race gets a pass."