24-year-old Rachel Hyink has just returned from Grand Bahama Island for the North America, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic Championships (NACAC) in pole vaulting. Hyink earned bronze vaulting over 4.20 meters which is more than 13 feet high. 

Overall, Hyink says the experience was a good one and a warm one.  

“It was a really good experience we had a lot of fun. The Bahamas were amazing. It was so hot not like here. It was hard to keep ourselves cool, for sure. The humidity was just crazy. The weather was about 31 to 32 degrees every day, but with humidity was at about 40 or 41, so definitely hot and not something I am used to,” said Hyink.  

The NACAC was one of Hyink’s biggest competitions so far. Previously, she competed in the Pan American U20 Games in Peru where she also earned bronze in competition. Hyink was happy to be able to keep her nerves at bay during the latest championship.  

“I kind of avoided the nerves just because we were so focused on trying to get the schedule right and figure out what time we were going and trying to get from the hotel to the track and all these different things. It kind of kept my mind busy and I didn't really have time to get nervous, which I think was a good thing,” said Hyink.  

In central Alberta, there are not a ton of opportunities for pole vaulters; however, Hyink was inspired to give it a try following high school. Now she has been pole vaulting for around seven years. 

“There's not a lot of pole vaulters around here, that's for sure. I was a gymnast for 10 years through my childhood and teenage years. Then in high school, a teacher of mine had pole vaulted in college and he suggested that I tried it. When I was finished with gymnastics, I gave it a go and I fell in love with it and progressed pretty quickly,” said Hyink.  

Photo of Hyink pole vaulting. Photo of Hyink pole vaulting. Photo supplied by Rachel Hyink. 

Hyink grew up attending the High School in Bentley and now lives in Lacombe. Currently, she is finishing up a degree at the University of Alberta and pole vaults in Edmonton and does other training in Lacombe. 

“I am living in Lacombe, but I travel to Edmonton two to three times a week right now for my jump session. I trained five days a week, three days would be running sprint training and weights in the gym. Two of those days I spend pole vaulting,” said Hyink.  

Following earning her bronze medal, Hyink is taking a little bit of a break for a month and half to recover. She will begin training again before the indoor season of competitions begins in January. Hyink is hoping to gain another foot in height in order to be a contender in the Olympics.  

“I'm still about a foot away in height from being able to make it. I got to keep pushing and get better, but you know it’s not impossible for me. I would love to go to the Olympics. We'll see if that's 2024, or maybe 2028,” added Hyink.