Underwater Rugby: yes, it’s a sport, and like every other sport, it has a world stage. Chancy-Marlene Trottier and Isabelle Bernard have both been selected to represent team Canada in Austria at the Underwater Rugby World Championship. The two Timmins girls have been playing this sport with the Timmins Underwater Sports Club for quite some time, and have gotten pretty good at it, obviously.

Alex Gagnon is the founder of the Underwater Sports Club, and ever since he introduced the sport to these two, they instantly fell in love with the sport. Both athletes seem to be the perfect fit for this event that is set to take place in late July.

Trottier, who is set to take her studies to the University of Laurentian in the fall, is also a former swimmer for the Timmins Marlins Swim Club. She grew up spending most of her time in the water, swimming at Provincial and National Championships. She eventually put that aside to focus on school, but her love for the water never died.

Bernard wasn’t a swimmer growing up, she is a newcomer to this sport.

“I tried the sport a few times last year, but I have been more committed to it this year.”

Bernard works at Wacky Wings here in Timmins throughout the day, but at night she’s playing Underwater Rugby alongside her teammate (Chancy-Marlene Trottier). She will also be attending Laurentian University in the fall, but who knows after this tournament maybe the two Laurentian bound athletes could be playing at a professional level.

This tournament is a huge opportunity for both girls, and both are still letting it sink in that they will be wearing the maple leaf.

“I was approached by a coach in Toronto who had told me that he was thinking of recruiting me to go to the World’s. Now that I am officially on the team it’s so surreal, I’m just so excited to be representing Team Canada, and to represent my hometown.” -Said Trottier

Bernard’s feeling isn’t far off; she found out a bit later than Trottier did about the World’s. So, it was almost like a sigh of relief, and jolt of excitement.

“It was overwhelming, it’s such a great opportunity. When I found out I was picked I literally started dancing in my kitchen, I was just so excited. I really love this sport and it’s going to be a fun experience.”

Austria isn’t a hop, skip, and a jump. The girls are going to be doing some fundraising in order to be able to make it to Austria. Each athlete needs to raise approximately three-thousand dollars!

“We both have been looking for sponsorships, and donations. If we do get sponsors, they will be marked on our uniforms. I started my own GoFundMe page, because three-thousand dollars is a lot of money. We know that July is still far away, but we didn’t want to waste any time, and we are both excited for this opportunity.” -Chancy Marlene Trottier

This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for both local athletes. It’s not every day you get a call to represent your country on the World stage. Both Trottier and Bernard will look to capitalize and make the most out of this opportunity. One thing’s for sure, they’ll both soak it all in once they step on that World stage and wear the maple leaf proudly on their chest.

Filed under: Local News