After sustaining multiple setbacks, Luke Peddie would have been justified if he chose to tread water for the rest of his swimming career.
However, the Edmonton native refused to let injuries and obstacles he has faced deter him from climbing the ranks as a swimmer and representing his country in numerous competitions.
That dream was nearly ruined when Peddie sustained a devastating injury while playing one of his favourite sports. Just like his older brothers he loved the game of hockey, but had to make a choice when he was diagnosed with a soft tissue elbow injury playing the game.
“I got injured on the ice one day and I knew right then that I wanted to stop playing hockey and focus on swimming,” said the young swimmer after a recent practice.
“When the doctors told me that I can’t exercise or swim for three or four months I was concerned about my swimming career, so at that point I decided to step back from hockey and pursue swimming.”
Despite working endlessly to be the best in the 50 and 100 metre butterfly and freestyle events, Peddie was once again faced with an obstacle towards his dream.
But where most 19 year olds would have accepted narrowly missing their first Olympic birth as fate, he persevered.
“In 2012 I missed the Olympic team by 0.07 seconds … that was heartbreaking for me,” said Peddie. “After that meet I went home and I pouted and I wallowed in my home for two weeks.
“It was a really hard time for me. I would say my biggest accomplishment was coming back from that, and then making the 2013 World Championships.”
Tom Johnson, the head coach at Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre in Vancouver, took notice of Peddie when he made the national team at the Pan Pacific Championships in 2010.
Since then, the coach has noticed a resolve in the young swimmer that he believes comes from the adversity he has overcome.
“Everybody has a story,” said Johnson. “Some people say that sport or that adversity builds character, but really it reveals the character of the athlete.
“Circumstances happen, and there’s nothing that he really could have done differently to prevent some of the things that have gone on, it’s just life.
“The fact that he’s been able to persevere, and get better and better as he’s gone through is really a credit to him. So I’m hoping that he still has his best swims in front of him, and I think he does.”
Peddie has been working at his craft to prove his coach right. Competing, improving and becoming a better swimmer remain high priorities for him, but having the opportunity to participate in the Pan Am Games being held in Toronto is top of the list.
“I love swimming for my country, … and I’ve always thought it would be cool to do it in Canada,” said Peddie. “I’m really looking forward to being able to push myself to make the team this summer so that I would be able to swim on that stage in my home country.”
During the 2015 Canadian Swimming Trials held between April 1-4, Peddie participated in the 50 and 100m freestyle, as well as the 50 and 100m butterfly. He qualified for the finals in both freestyle events and the 100m butterfly.
In the 50m and 100m freestyle final Peddie finished fifth with a time of 22.90 seconds, and eighth with a time of 50.18 seconds respectively. In the 100m butterfly he swam a time of 54.73 seconds for eight position in that event.
Peddie was unable to qualify for the 50m butterfly, but in the preliminary stage he placed ninth with a time of 24.85 seconds.
These times won’t send the young athlete to the Pan Am Games this time around, but his tenacity will certainly keep him going until the next opportunity.
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