Team MB Canada Games 2009: Chantal Van

Chantal Van Landeghem says she is just an average teenage girl who likes to relax by going to the movies, reading a good book, or hanging out with friends.

Chantal Van Landeghem says she is just an average teenage girl who likes to relax by going to the movies, reading a good book, or hanging out with friends. Never mind that the 15-year-old finds time for teenage activities, balances  school, does volunteer work, all while winning medals and breaking records at swim competitions.

“Chantal is an outstanding swimmer and young lady,” says Barry Moroz, Games Manager for Sport Manitoba. “She was a multiple medal winner at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, Australian Age Championships and Speedo Western Championships, where she also set two new Canadian records. She will definitely be a medal contender for Manitoba at the Canada Games. “

Swimming has been a major part of Chantal’s life, and with the support of her family she has been Going For It since she was four years old. “My family has inspired me by being 100 percent there throughout the 11 years that I've been swimming,” says Chantal. “They attend swim competitions with me and my sister, and they drive us to practice every morning and they haven’t complained once.”

“We always played sport as a family, and Chantal and her sister always went swimming with me when they were kids,” says Wayne Van Landeghem, Chantal’s father. “So they both naturally gravitated towards swimming when they decided to participate in amateur-level sport.”

“I think the True Sport principle that best describes me is Keep it Fun,” says Chantal. “I love swimming because there are so many fun aspects that make the hard training bearable. Like the fact that I now have life-long friends that started out as teammates, and I love competing and traveling around the world.”

One of Chantal’s best memories of competing came when her relay team broke their first Canadian record by focusing on having fun and swimming fast. After an assertive swim, their coach told them that they might have broken the Canadian national record.

“We all looked at each other and started hugging because we were so happy!” says Chantal.  “All I kept thinking was, ‘Oh my god! Oh my god! OH MY GOD!’ After that first Canadian record, it gave us the confidence to break two more, and earn our nickname, the Dream Team."

With all that she has on her plate, Chant, as she is known by her swimming friends, still finds time to Give Back by helping out with smaller meets at her Manta Swim Club. “Chantal is a confident young lady who has a great sense of herself and her role at the club,” says Tom Hainey, head coach, Manta Swim Club.  “She does fantastic work helping out with the younger athletes during development meets.”

“Because Chantal has so much going on, my wife and I always check in with her to see if she wants to cut back,” says Wayne Van Landeghem, Chantal’s father.  “But Chantal has been telling us forever that she’s having a great time. For her, this is a labour of love.” 

The True Sport Movement congratulates Chantal on her passion for swimming, and encourages her to continue to celebrate the True Sport Principle, Keep it Fun, as part of her long-term goal to represent Canada at the Olympics.