By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator

Teagen Purvis has always been a swimmer. It’s part of being a Purvis. Her mom was a swimmer, her dad was a swimmer, and her grandmother was even a swim coach.

Teagen found out she made Team Manitoba in May, but she began training as far back as 2019 in anticipation of the 2022 Canada Summer Games with hopes of making the team.

Little did she know, she’d become Team Manitoba’s winningest athlete at the Games.

“It’s been a long journey,” said Tracy Purvis, Teagen’s mother. “Before the pandemic, through the pandemic, Team Manitoba has kept these kids going on Zoom – workouts at home. Special Olympics has kept these kids going, and we’re here, and she has exceeded all of our expectations.”

After winning her first medal – a silver in the 50m breaststroke, Special Olympics, Teagen was overjoyed.

“I’m very happy, like the best day of my life,” said Teagen. “My heart is like pounding out of my chest with joy, pride, honour. It just feels like a whole new me. Like my dreams are coming true.”

Although Teagen dominated in the pool, results were never the focus. After winning her first gold and being asked about how that made her feel, the first thing she did was say congratulations to all the athletes at Canada Games. After winning her second gold, Teagen thanked her family.

“I love them so much with all of my heart,” said Teagen, “and I’m very proud of them being my family.”

For Teagen’s family, not coming to Games was not an option.”This is Teagen’s thing,” said Darcy Purvis, Teagen’s father. “For us not to show up would be like us missing the major one thing in her life.”

Teagen’s support system at Games extends far beyond her parents. Her grandmothers, grandfather, aunt, and younger sister all made the trip to cheer her on. Her swim teammates and coaches also intently watched and cheered during every race. The entire Team Manitoba female basketball team even stopped by her dorm to congratulate her on her success.

“I think she’ll always be swimming,” said Tracy. “Teagen fits in at the pool. It knows no boundaries when you swim. It’s a good fit for her.”

Teagen captured five medals. She earned silver in 50m breaststroke, and four golds – 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 50m backstroke, and 50m freestyle.

When asked what she wanted to do with the rest of her time in Niagara, she said she’d like to go to Marineland, and when she gets home, she’d like to celebrate her success with a party with her friends and family.

“We were proud no matter how she did. We’re just glad she’s having fun, and she is sure having fun,” said Tracy. “All that really matters to us is that she’s happy.”