King’s Christian Collegiate
graduate Tera Van Beilen and her mom, Sharon, are
shown at the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Swimming
Trials in Montreal last month. Tera qualified to
compete in two breaststroke races at the Summer
Olympics in London.
Christian rejoices in graduate’s
Tera Van Beilen finds support and inspiration
through her faith
Sharon Van Beilen’s voice wavers describing the
realization of daughter Tera’s Olympic dream.
“It’s very emotional. All the love and
prayer — just to see how happy she was to turn
around after the 100 and look above the clock and realize
that she was going to the Olympics was just incredible,” Sharon
says, recalling the first of two Canadian swim trial
races in which Tera qualified for this summer’s
Olympic Games in London.
King’s Christian Collegiate is rejoicing
in the 2011 graduate’s recent achievement,
which was announced at chapel and in a special good-news
edition of the Oakville school’s Herald newsletter.
Tera will compete in the 100- and 200-metre breaststroke
at the Olympics after a stand-out performance at last
month’s trials in Montreal, where she also celebrated
her 19th birthday. To earn a spot in the 200m,
the University of British Columbia student surpassed
both the current world record holder and world bronze
medallist and posted the second-fastest time in the
world this year.
Tera Van Beilen
Sharon, who is King’s administrative assistant
and rental co-ordinator, says the school community
has offered her family many congratulatory messages.
It’s a continuation of the support that Tera
received during her years at King’s Christian
Sharon says teachers and staff worked with Tera to
accommodate her hectic competitive swim schedule without
compromising her education, and prayed for her.
“Each one of them has been so excited for her
and they’ve been following her swims throughout
her career,” Sharon says. “They’ve
helped her to keep her dream alive and have been a
Tera, whose swimming talent first became apparent at
age nine during a summer Bible camp, has been anchored
through ups and downs by her faith.
Sharon says God has remained central in her daughter’s
life, helping her to maintain a strong sense of character
and passion for life.
“She’s definitely stayed grounded, she
knows who she is as a believer in Christ, she’s
kept a healthy perspective on sport, and she knows
that she’s valuable whether she swims or not,” Sharon
Tera’s Olympic dream is “a blessing” that
reflects her all of her hard work, focus and dedication
but so, too, is the fact that she’s learned to
handle failure, her mom says.
Tera enjoys Christian music and turns to it before
competitions. Sharon shares a current favourite, Restless by
Audrey Assad, with these particular words of inspiration:
“In between our frailty and everything You
You are the keeper of my heart”
“And I’m restless
’Til I rest in You.
(Oh God I wanna rest in You)”
“She says she listens to it and it just totally,
totally inspires her,” Sharon says.
“It is such a beautiful song and the words are
In addition to the music, Tera has been known to pray
with others before races. It’s an opportunity
to share her faith and give God the glory.
“When you’re given this recognition and
this gift you think wow, what an opportunity to share
your faith,” Sharon says. “I just pray
that that continues and she stays close to God and
keeps a healthy perspective on sport — in her
own Tera way, give God the glory.”
Tera is scheduled to visit her former elementary school,
John Knox Christian School, and King’s Christian
Collegiate on May 7 and 8 respectively. Sharon expects
she’ll share her story and faith journey, looking
at her “perspective of who she is as a Christian
through it all.”
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