Tabitha Baumann wasn’t pushed to swimming, despite having a swimming legend as a father.
She is the daughter of Alex Baumann, a Canadian swimmer who won two gold medals in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Born in Australia, Tabitha has been developing since the age of 12.
“I grew up in Australia until I was 11, and I never really liked swimming,” Baumann said. “Then I moved to Canada because my dad got a job here. He said we gotta stay active, me and my brother.
“We tried swimming again and we absolutely fell in love with it in Canada, that’s what really got us hooked.”
Despite Alex’s accomplishments as a swimmer for Canada, Tabitha’s decision wasn’t influenced by her father at all.
“He didn’t put pressure or decide at all. He literally just wanted us to stay active and not to be like couch potatoes,” the 19-year-old swimmer said.
“He’s always supporting us, because he knows and he’s been through it all, but he’s never once pushed us into the sport.”
Tabitha is aware of her father’s accolades, and of course she’s proud of having him as a dad.
“What he accomplished in swimming was amazing. I really admire him,” the New Zealand resident said. “He’s a big idol in my life.”
Another important person in Tabitha’s career was her first coach, Derrick Schoof, current head coach of the Edmonton Keyano Swimming Club.
“He was extremely important for my development. He was my coach in Ottawa, (and) he’s been my coach on and off for almost five years now,” she said. “He’s really worked on me into improving fast, he got me where I am today”.
Schoof, a Vancouver native, is really happy to see Tabitha’s progress as an athlete after seeing her grow up back in Ottawa.
“Tabitha is an interesting story, because we worked together in Ottawa, her parents brought her up from a very young age,” Schoof said. “She improved very quickly and got herself on the national team”.
Baumann and Schoof reconnected last year when she moved to Edmonton for a couple of months.
“By that time Tabitha and I moved to different locations, she moved to New Zealand, I moved to Edmonton,” he said. “Then, she decided she needed to reconnect with a coach back in Canada, and the relationship that we had as a coach and athlete was still very good and intact, so she decided she’d like to comeback and continue her preparation with me”.
During the 2015 Team Canada Trials, Baumann picked up two medals, one gold in the women’s 800 metre freestyle and one silver in the 400m freestyle race.
Regardless of the two medals, Baumann wasn’t happy with her results on the weekend.
“I definitely didn’t succeed my expectations for this weekend, I was really hoping to make the world team,” the Canadian swimmer said. “But I made it to the Pan Am team, and I get to represent Canada again this summer.”
Schoof wasn’t completely pleased with Baumann’s performance either. Both had higher expectations coming into the meet.
“Her performance this weekend was good, wasn’t great. We kind of hoped for a little bit more,” the Edmonton Keyano Club coach said. “It’s hard to always say why she didn’t swim as fast as we would of liked, but sometimes getting on to the team can be harder than it sounds.
“She made the Pan Am team so she’s moving in the right direction.”
Follow Nelson Perez Esis on Twitter @elnelsonperez