By: Isabella Urbani, Sports Editor
“Enjoy the experience.” Those are the words senior swimmer Jordan Doner wishes she could tell her freshman self. “Everyone says university goes by fast, and it really does!” Although time felt like it flew by for Doner, it wasn’t without unpredictability and instability. “My journey here at SFU hasn’t been an easy one, we’ve had quite a few coaching changes,” the new team captain revealed. Doner has been coached by three separate coaches in the span of five years. This will be her second season under head coach Demone Tissira.
While adjusting to new leadership has been a recurring challenge for Doner to face, the breaststroke swimmer’s preparations have gotten easier overtime. The biggest change in her routine has been picking up weight training to improve her strength and stamina for months of competition. “Staying in good shape in the summer is important to be ready for the season,” Doner shared. With extra time on her schedule next year, Doner hopes to take up weight training full-time, and experiment with rock climbing.
Some of Doner’s fondest memories during her time at SFU has been receiving All-American honours, awarded to individuals and teams who finish in the top-eight. Doner did so last season with her team’s fifth-place finish in the 4×400 freestyle relay at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships. “It’s a great feeling to see all the hard work pay off at the last meet of the season,” Doner said.
As for this season, the returning senior is most excited to be reuniting with her fellow teammates and getting to witness how they fare in her final season. She has her sights set specifically on training camp in San Diego, which will take place before SFU’s first invitational during the first week of October in Stockton, California. Doner’s team-orientated approach has a lot to do with her mindshift change from freshman year to senior year. “I’ve realized it’s not only about how fast you go in the pool,” Doner admitted, “It’s about having fun and enjoying the experience with your teammates, because eventually swimming ends, but your friends will last forever.”
Doner first got a glimpse of friendship when her swimming journey brought her to SFU. Hailing from Newmarket, Ontario, she made the trek west to stay within the country and compete at the NCAA level. Doner describes her initial transition as a “big change,” but one that was made easier with the support of her teammates. Now entering the year as a swim captain, and the only senior on the women’s team, Doner is looking forward to being an anchor for her teammates “both in and out of the pool.” She encourages new student athletes to reach out for support. “Even if it’s just talking to your teammates, there are lots of people who are here to support you.”