By Bradley Turcotte –
Tay Street resident Lorraine Tetreault volleyed her way to the top of the podium at this year’s Americas Masters Games, capturing gold in the women’s 60-plus squash event.
This was the Americas Masters inaugural event, held from August 26 to September 4 in Vancouver. The European Masters Games and Asia Masters Athletic Championships are well established, in addition to the World Masters Games. Occurring every four years, the Masters events invite athletes over 30 years of age to compete against contemporaries in their age group.
Although she walked away with the top hardware, Lorraine says at first she wasn’t sold on competing as the 60-plus squash demographic is very small and she craved variety. But when Lorraine surveyed the draw she didn’t recognize any of her opponents. Ultimately she admits she was “disappointed there wasn’t more competition.”
Squash was simply a fun pastime when Lorraine first set foot on the court while a student at McGill University in 1974. After winning the first McGill intermural championship in 1977, Lorraine rose through the ranks of the competitive provincial league.
Training is essential to maintain her physique and competitive edge, says Lorraine. John Zahab of Westboro’s Continuum Fitness has worked with Lorraine for eight years.
“She’s in phenomenal shape,” John observes. “She’s always close to being in incredible shape. It’s basically fine tuning.
“What I do and what her technical coach [Pan American Games gold medalist, Heather Wallace] does is we create an environment for the individual but the individual is the one who puts in all of the time, all of the effort, all of the intelligence to achieve what they achieve. Lorraine is an incredibly dedicated individual,” John continues. “She’s very intelligent. She knows when to recover, when to rest. She knows when to train and when to train hard. That’s what makes her as successful as she is.”
There is a trend of Canadians staying active as they age, John notes and Lorraine is living proof.
“I see myself at 62 and I think of my mother at 62 and we’re two totally different people,” Lorraine says. “People don’t realize that they can do this still as long as they work up to it. If you don’t use it you lose it… I’m very driven. I want to make sure that if I’m on this earth I want to be active and move until I can’t do it anymore. You see too many people sitting down and not doing anything. Some of the women I’ve played just didn’t move, they didn’t run.”
While squash may not be a wildly popular sport, Lorraine counters common apprehension, citing the minimal equipment needed and the affordability of squash facilities.
“Give it a try and you’ll be pleasantly surprised,” says Lorraine. “Addiction has negative connotations but I find squash is a sport that once you start playing you really like it because it’s an efficient sport in getting a great workout.”
She’s currently preparing for the World Masters Games next year in New Zealand.
“I am pretty confident that the top players are going to that event,” Lorraine explains. “That’s my next goal, to work towards that. Top eight would be my goal. Top five would even be better.”