Swimmer Tsista Kennedy, 12, is taking home two gold and five silver medals from his first appearance at the North American Indigenous Games.
Kennedy lives in Waterloo Region and trains with the Region of Waterloo swim club. He is originally from Christian Island, Ont., on Georgian Bay and is also of the Oneida Nation of the Thames.
Hosted in Regina this year, the North American Indigenous Games ended on Saturday and drew about 3,700 athletes under 19 years of age. There was a total of 15 sport categories, including swimming, archery, golf, kayaking and basketball.
Kennedy swam against 13- and 14-year-olds, winning gold in the 50-metre butterfly, 4x50-metre freestyle relay and silver in the 50-metre freestyle, 100-metre freestyle, 50-metre breaststroke, 100-metre breaststroke, and 100-metre butterfly.
"I'm really proud of myself," said Kennedy. "It feels really good to represent my province and my nations."
He said his mother, Charisse Sayer, suggested he try swimming after deciding to take a break from lacrosse four years ago.
"Tsista's always been a swimmer. We come from a community surrounded by water, Christian Island on Georgian Bay," said Sayer, who was a chaperone on the trip. "And he's an individual, so he really enjoys individual sport[s]."
Kennedy said he hopes to compete in the World Indigenous Games one day.