Schaff award close to the heart

By Andrew Ross

Many swimmers wiped tears from their eyes as the First Annual Ryan Schaff Memorial Trophy was presented last Monday. With the entire swimming program and the Schaff family in attendance, two of Schaff’s teammates made opening remarks.

"He was very dedicated," said teammate Graeme Gordon, who relayed to the audience a simple, personal anecdote epitomizing Schaff’s consideration for others.

Fellow swimmer Julia Wright then said a few words. In addition to being his teammate, Wright had also been a close friend of Schaff’s since Grade 7.

"If you exemplify any of the characteristics that [Schaff] did, then I’m probably madly in love with you," she said, noting that the award would probably be going to one of her friends.

Schaff, who first swam with the University of Calgary two years ago, was never a top-ranked swimmer. Rather, he was known–and is remembered for–his passion and dedication to the sport of swimming.

"The Ryan Schaff Memorial Award has been established to recognize a first-year [U of C] swimmer who shares the same dedication and commitment to the sport that Ryan did," said Coach Bill Humby during his presentation speech.

Sarah Polley, who is now entering her second year as a swimmer at the university, was honoured with the award. Polley was nearly overcome by emotion as she accepted the award.

"I’m floored. I didn’t expect [the award] at all," said Polley after the ceremony. "It may sound cheesy, but it’s really just a great honour."

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