HAMILTON, Ont. - Ontario University Athletics (OUA) will recognize the top female scholar-athletes from across the province at the eighth annual Women of Influence Luncheon on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (South Building – Hall G), 255 Front Street West in Toronto.
The event honours female student-athletes who have excelled in their chosen sports, fields of study and community involvement. This year's guest speaker will be tennis star Venus Williams. The legendary tennis star is a winner of five Wimbledon titles, seven Grand Slams, 41 WTA tour titles and three Olympic gold medals. Off the court, Williams excels in a variety of areas including interior design, fashion and authoring two books.
Today’s honoured female athlete is the University of Western Ontario’s Hayley Nell. In the 2009-10 season Hayley was team captain of the swim team, winning an amazing five gold medals at the OUA Championships as well a silver and a bronze medal at the CIS Championships leading the team to a best ever fourth place finish at Nationals.
The London, Ont. native is a two-time team MVP and two-time OUA Swimmer of the Meet at the Provincial Championships and started the 2010 season with four silver medals in four races in the multi-conference University Challenge Cup.
Hayley has competed on the Provincial team as well as the Junior and Senior National Team and was selected to the 2009 Canadian University Games team representing Canada at the FISU games in Belgrade, Serbia. She is the current OUA meet record holder in both the 50m and 100m freestyle events.
The Western student-athlete is a two-time Academic All Canadian studying Medical Sciences in Western’s Schulich School of Medicine. She is the scholarship recipient of the Gordon Risk Athletic Award and the Bob Gage Athletic Award and is receiving Quest for Gold funding.
Hayley has volunteered as a coach for numerous kids camp and since 2006 has officiated as a timer during swimming competitions. She also gives her time organizing team activities including time spent fund-raising at the Western Fair this fall.
Join OUA as Williams speaks about her career on and off the courts, and how she set a new standard for all female athletes around the world. Tickets to the luncheon are $168.37 (taxes included) at the early bird price and can be purchased by registering at https://register.womenofinfluenceinc.ca/woi/register.aspx.
OUA recognizes the following sponsors for their support of this event; belairdirect., Centaur Products, Pioneer Petroleums, Wilson Sports Equipment of Canada, and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity.
Name: Hayley Nell
School: University of Western Ontario
Academic Program: Medical Sciences
Hometown: London, Ont.
Q: What is your proudest academic achievement?
A: Being a student-athlete and balancing the demands of school and swimming has been tough, and to do so while maintaining an honour roll status is my proudest academic accomplishment.
Q: What is your proudest athletic achievement?
A: I have accomplished many things in my sport throughout my ten years as a competitive swimmer. However, I think the achievement I am most proud of is being a member of the 2008-2009 Western Swimming Team when we won the OUA Championship. It was the first time Western had won the title in over 20 years, and it was amazing to be a part of that. I was also named OUA Female swimmer of the meet that year making the event even more memorable.
Q: What is your most memorable community related moment?
A: This past summer I volunteered at a summer day camp for a week. I was a team leader for a group of 5-7 year olds. It was a tiring week, and a lot of work went into setting up, planning and helping run the camp. However, it was also a very rewarding experience. A number of the kids at the day camp were from underprivileged homes and to give them such an amazing week and to see how much fun they were having made all the work worthwhile.
Q: What woman has most influenced you, and why?
A: My mom has been the most influential woman in my life. She has always been there to support and encourage me and knows exactly how to cheer me up when I need it. She is my biggest fan, and without her support, guidance and love I would not be the person I am today.
Q: If you could sit down to dinner with any woman, who would it be, and why?
A: Kristy Coventry, a Zimbabwean swimmer and Olympic medalist. I have always loved watching her race and admired her composure at international competitions and would love to talk to her about her experiences as a swimmer.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I am not exactly sure of my future plans at the moment. My ultimate goal from an academic standpoint is to get into medical school. As far as swimming goes, I still love the sport, but depending on what happens with my schooling will determine how much longer I continue to compete. I know swimming will always be a part of my life and as of right now the plan is to keep training and competing until my academic goals prevent it.