Moms find judge’s role fun and rewarding

Women share why they give back to the sport of synchronized swimming through the BC Summer Games

Anne-Marie North of Burnaby and Kamloops’ Joyce Ribalki.

Anne-Marie North of Burnaby and Kamloops’ Joyce Ribalki.

Armed with a 150-page instruction book, and experience as a synchronized swimmer’s mother and frequent spectator, Kamloops’ Joyce Ribalkin wiped her brow, then expressed delight as she watched a series of girls step up on the podium Sunday to collect their bling.

Ribalkin was one of dozens of judges at the BC Summer Games this weekend. And while most of the sports competitions were held in Abbotsford, synchronized swimming was held at the Walnut Grove Community Centre in Langley for the past three days.

Ribalkin is an executive with the Kamloops Sunrays. Her daughter has been swimming competitively for the past six years, and rather than just being a spectator, she chose to get involved – to volunteer. Soon she was refereeing, became involved with the club directors, and now is venturing into judging.

But she admitted to being a little nerve heading into this weekend, it being her first time sitting in the judge’s chair and the first time at a provincial competition as on official.

She explained that there are very specific criteria by which the judges must mark each swimmer in artistic impression, difficulty, and execution.

By Sunday, the only remaining area of competition was the solo category, and swimmers were out of the pool by 10 a.m.

“These swimmers have worked so hard that you want to make sure you’re giving the right marks to the right swimmers and placing the right athletes on the podium… It was a little daunting, but I did okay… I did it,” Ribalkin said.

She herself was beaming as she watched the winners (all ranging in age between 11 and 15) take their turn stepping up to the podium and having a medal placed around their neck.

“It’s a great experience,” added fellow judge and new friend Anne-Marie North of Burnaby.

She too started as a mother observing from the stands 12 years ago, then became a volunteer, began judging and now also teaches others to judge. She’s even a master swimmer herself.

“I wanted to help grow athletes… give them the tools they need to succeed and go on to pursue their dreams, whatever those dreams may be. My primary motivation has and always will be the athletes.”

Roxanne Hooper

Black Press

View our digital online magazine about the BC Summer Games.

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read