Edmonton

'They kind of idolized her': Gymnastics coach mourns death of teen pulled from pond

A funeral will be held today for Khrystyna Maksymova, a promising young gymnast who died after being pulled from a drainage pond in north Edmonton.

Khrystyna Maksymova, 14, died Sunday after chasing a dog into a north Edmonton drainage pond

Khrystyna Maksymova was a talented young gymnast who inspired her teammates with her dedication and hard work. (Courtesy of Elena Mager-Lukjanova)

A funeral will be held today for a promising young gymnast who died after being pulled from a drainage pond in north Edmonton.

Khrystyna ​Maksymova, 14, trained for three years at Elena's Rhythmic Gymnastics Club in Edmonton. She was an athlete her teammates and younger sister looked up to, said coach Elena Mager-Tetz.

"Khrystyna was a very bright, strong-headed, motivated, talented athlete," Mager-Tetz said.

"When she set her mind to something she would work hard and could achieve it very, very quickly. Just a pleasure to coach and to spend so much time with."

Maksymova jumped into a stormwater drainage pond Saturday to rescue a dog she was walking. She was reportedly a strong swimmer, but became stuck in the mud. Emergency crews pulled her from the water, but she died in hospital the next day.

She was with her 10-year-old sister, Anastasiia, at the time.

'Her and her sister were kind of inseparable'

The sisters were avid gymnasts who trained four times a week with a team of girls aged nine to 18.

Over the last season, the girls competed in Edmonton and Calgary. Maksymova was slated to compete next summer in the 2018 Canadian Gymnaestrada in Richmond, B.C., with a potential trip to a competition in Austria later on.

She was very close with her sister, who she called Nastya for short, Mager-Tetz said. 

Khrystyna Maksymova poses with her sister, Anastasiia, and their mother, Svitlana. (Elena Mager-Lukjanova)

"Her and her sister were kind of inseparable," Mager-Tetz said. "They had another friend and were the trio, that stuck together like the Three Musketeers. 

"The siblings of her friends looked up to her. You could see it in their eyes, they kind of idolized her."

Maksymova's parents are "overcome with grief," Mager-Tetz said. The family is from Ukraine and has no extended family here, she said, but the community in Edmonton has pulled together to help them.

The funeral is being held a day before Anastasiia's 11th birthday.

Maksymova's teammates are in shock, and counselling is being arranged for the team, Mager-Tetz said. 

"Her sister ... I believe she lost her voice from screaming for help when it happened," she said. "This is a huge shock to all of us. Even just the way it happened, trying to rescue her neighbour's dog. It's hard to comprehend.

"Everyone is trying to pull together ... and be strong for her family."

A funeral will be held Wednesday for Khrystyna Maksymova, the 14-year-old girl who died after being rescued from a drainage pond. (Elena Mager-Lukjanova)