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Grand Forks area swimmer on world stage this weekend

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The Grand Forks and Christina Lake areas will be cheering on a local swimmer as he takes part in the FINA World Championships this weekend.

James Dergousoff is in Budapest after winning the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke at the Bell Canadian Swimming Trials.

Dergousoff grew up in Christina Lake and started swimming at the Grand Forks Aquatic Center at a very young age.

Melina Van Hoogevest, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s recreation supervisor, says James is an amazing, inspirational young man.

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“We are so excited for him and we just hope he does really well. And, regardless of the outcome, we are beyond proud of him. How exciting to be in Budapest on June 18 competing for world championships at the age of 25?” Van Hoogevest said in an interview with Vista Radio.

She says James has come a long way since plunging in the pool at the Grand Forks Aquatic Center.

“In the Grand Forks Aquatic Center at the age of 3, diving into the deep end. Just such as love for water from the beginning. If anyone deserves this, James deserves this,” she said.

He was also a lifeguard and fitness instructor at the center for a time.

While this is a big competition, Hoogevest says James’ ultimate goal is the Paris Olympics in 2024.

The regional district also has an inspirational mural in the works for the Grand Forks Aquatic Center depicting Dergousoff as he qualified for the world championships.

The mural in the north end interior wall of the aquatic center is being painted by local muralist, Paul Archer, and has been sponsored by local doctor Mark Szynkaruk with matching funds from the RDKB.

The FINA World Championships start Saturday at 1 p.m. Pacific on CBC TV.

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