This 17-year-old from Kilbride won N.L.’s first Summer Games gold medal since 1993

A teenager holds a gold medal in front of a pool
Chris Weeks, 17, nabbed Newfoundland and Labrador’s first gold medal in nearly 30 years at the Canada Summer Games this week. (Swimming NL/Instagram)

A 17-year-old from Kilbride won Newfoundland and Labrador’s first gold medal of the Canada Games this week.

Swimmer Chris Weeks took the top spot in the 50-metre butterfly, marking the first swimming gold for Newfoundland and Labrador since 1993.

Weeks started swimming competitively four years ago, but chalks up a lot of his aquatic success to his past in karate. 

“I believe that my hand-eye coordination is pretty good,” Weeks told CBC’s On the Go on Wednesday. “I’m not looking at my hands underwater. I know where my hands are.”

Weeks said he won the medal by less than a second, but says months of hard work — including getting up before dawn to head to the pool — led to this week’s success. His father, he said, is his biggest supporter.

“My dad was very proud,” he said.

Weeks’ gold-medal win also nabbed him a new Canada Games Record. He swam the 50-metre butterfly in 24.53 seconds, beating the 2013 record set by an Ontario swimmer, who finished that race in 24.91 seconds.

Weeks has also taken home two silvers so far.

By breaking a swimming record, Weeks joins athlete Jaida Lee, a Grade 11 student at Gonzaga High School in St. John’s in the history books for this year’s competition.

Lee has also made history by being the first female to pitch for a men’s baseball team at the Games.

Team N.L. currently has eight medals at the Canada Summer Games, hosted this year in Niagara, Ont.

The Games close Aug. 21.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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