Thunderbird Annamay Pierse on her way to victory in the 200 m breaststroke at this year’s CIS Championship - photo by Richard Lam
UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 7 | Jul. 3, 2008
Pierse Dynasty Fuels UBC Dominance
By Ben Schach
When the swimming portion of the Olympic Games is held this August in Beijing’s highly touted Water Cube, one Canadian to keep your eye on is going to be UBC Thunderbird Annamay Pierse.
The Canadian record holder in the 50, 100, and 200 metre breaststroke, Pierse is ranked in the top five in the world in the 200 m this year and could be in the mix to final in the 100 m as well.
“Its been a lot of hard work, and a lot of ups and downs, but the last year and a half has just been phenomenal and more than I could have ever asked for,” said the 24-year-old first-time Olympian.
Another time to keep your eye out for the Pierse family name and that will be at the 2009 CIS Swimming Championships set for this coming February at the UBC Aquatic Centre.
That time, however, there will be three sets of Pierse results to compare.
A native of Edmonton, Pierse is the eldest from a family of five girls and two boys, and with the arrival of younger sister Grainee to the Point Grey Campus in September, the UBC women Thunderbirds pool will be stocked with three Pierses.
Already a teammate of Annamay, a psychology major, is younger sister, Hanna, who is studying Arts. The two breaststroke and individual medley specialists recently combined for six individual medals, including five gold, at the 2008 CIS Championships as UBC extended their dominance over CIS Swimming with an eleventh straight national women’s title.
“It’s so good to get to train with Hanna now because growing up I was always in a different group than her because of age,” said Pierse, who at 24 is five years older than her next youngest sister. “It has been really good to see how much she has improved in the last year.”
Getting to train with family isn’t all about hard work. “It can be really fun as well to train with Hanna, except sometimes she gets the brunt of my bad moods because I know she can take it and will always be there for me,” said Pierse.
With younger sisters Fionnuala and Patricia, both swimmers on the rise in their own right, UBC’s dominance at the top of women’s CIS swimming could continue for many years to come.
“If all goes to plan, hopefully one day each of my sisters will have the chance to come to UBC and enjoy it as much as I have.”
For now, though, three seems to be more than enough fuel to keep UBC’s streak alive and kicking.