Annamay Pierse, Canadian Olympic swimming star and former breaststroke specialist, has been working on her improv acting chops. She’s now in her second semester at The Second City Training Centre in Toronto, according to the National Post.
The former 200 breaststroke world record holder is fearless onstage. Her classmates, actors and Canadian TV professionals, all agree. Cara Saunders said:
“She always just goes for it, and doesn’t really question herself. It often encourages people to go bigger, because she’s always going so big”
The art of improvisational comedy is an all or nothing endeavor, very athletic in many respects, something with which Pierse can identify. Representing the UBC Dophlins swim club and the UBC Thunderbirds in college, Pierse racked up accolades; Canadian records in both short and long course, making the 2008 Canadian Olympic Swim Team, being named CIS female athlete of the year. She is best remember for her 200 breast at the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome, where she broke the world record with a 2:20.12.
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, Pierse got derailed with dengue fever, a sinister disease from which she felt she never really recovered. She told the National Post:
“I don’t think my body will ever be the same. There’s nothing that will re-occur. It’s not one of those things. But I just was never the same, physically. I couldn’t do what I had done before. My body just wouldn’t recover the same.”
Pierse missed making the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team, a terribly disappointing moment for her and her fans.
Now retired with swimming in her review mirror, Pierse is tackling improv with an eye on a bright future:
“I love improv so much. I’ve never felt so comfortable. I can get on stage, and it’s just so silly and amazing. Oh my God, I love it.”
Pierse may or may not go head-long into acting. She worked ondeck at the 2012 London Olympic Games from a different perspective, with the media, and she likes the idea of working in television profiling lesser-known athletes. Presently, Pierse is looking for work, so if you’re in biz, reachout to her.