Friday, August 27, 2010

Swimming has saved national champ Toni LeClercq

Winner of 200 IM national race in Puerto Rico


Courtesy photo Toni LeClercq, national 200 IM champion in Women’s 60-64

Toni LeClercq of Ketchum has come a long way in the four years since she suffered nerve damage in knee replacement surgery and was in a wheelchair for two months.

Determined to walk again, LeClercq used a walker, crutches and cane. She couldn't do the activities she loved like skiing and hiking, but she started rehabilitation at Zenergy.

Her sister Suzanne Dills of Spokane, Wash. encouraged Toni to return to swimming. Growing up on Mercer Island near Seattle, Toni came from a swimming family. She became an All-American with several national records. But she quit at 17 and didn't return until her rehab.

Swimming has rescued her since she picked it up again in 2007.

LeClercq, 62, has become an accomplished Masters-class swimmer in the last three years. And now, she is a national champion.

Competing Aug. 9-12 at San Juan, Puerto Rico in the U.S. Masters Swim and International Long Course Championships, LeClercq climbed the podium six times in the Women's 60-64 age class and won a gold medal in the 200-meter IM.

In her winning 200m IM swim, LeClercq was timed in 3:28.85 for the 50m legs of butterfly (42.69), backstroke (58.39), breaststroke (59.35) and freestyle (48.42).

At nationals she also finished second in 100m butterfly (1:37.16) and captured third places in the following events—100m free (1:22.63), 50m free (36.02), 50m fly (39.64) and 50m breaststroke (46.63).

She tuned up for the Puerto Rico meet at the U.S. Short Course nationals May 20-24 at Georgia Tech in Atlanta where the 1996 Olympics were staged. There, LeClercq finished third in 100 IM in addition to two fourths, a fifth and sixth.

LeClercq is positive about her recovery and feels she can provide an example to those dealing with rehabilitation from injury or surgery. "It was painful," she said about rehab. "Great coaches and a great group of friends gave meaning to the process.

"You can set your mind to do anything—it just takes a lot of work. But it's all about maintaining our health and fitness to achieve the best enjoyment that life has to offer."

She will enjoy a big event in the life of her family this weekend.

LeClercq is the grandmother of 18-month-old twins fathered by her son Ryan Philbrick, 31, of Gig Harbor, Wash., a 1997 Community School graduate. And this Saturday night, she will celebrate her 28-year-old daughter Morgan Philbrick's marriage to Brayton Gove of Florida on Saturday at Golden Eagle. Morgan is a 2000 Wood River grad.




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