It took a bit of convincing for David Shewfelt to realize he deserved the honour of being inducted into the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition.
“I think for me, it was more of a shock at the beginning,” said Shewfelt, a swimming official who was inducted into the hall on Wednesday during a ceremony at the Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre.
“I believed it and I was overjoyed but at first I didn’t really think that maybe I belonged. At first I didn’t really think that I qualified. Then talking to a few people, like the hall people . . . they made me believe and understand there’s more to sport and the whole idea of sport.”
Shewfelt’s resume is as full of accomplishments and achievements as some of the athletes in the hall.
Swimming in Hamilton until his mid-teens, Shewfelt and his family moved to Brantford where he swam with the Brantford Aquatic Club into his university days.
After marrying wife Susan and starting a family, Shewfelt got back into swimming when their two sons, Nathan and Daniel, took up the sport.
“I would say I jumped right into it,” said the 64-year-old of his re-entry into the sport in 1989.
“They needed bodies and, for me, I was always one that I’d rather be involved then sit on the sidelines.
“I love the sport. I swam in it for 11 years.”
Shewfelt started by fulfilling minimum volunteering requirements. But he slowly he graduated to a higher level, becoming a Canadian Master Official in 1999.
“It was a progression that seemed to take hold,” he said.
“I think it took me about 10 years to achieve my master level official certification for Canada, which is the highest level for normal officiating in this country.”
From that point, he was certified as an International FINA referee in 2009 with only two others in his Canadian group.
His first four-year term as a FINA referee included a spot at the World Swimming Championships in Dubai.
“With the first opportunity, I was overjoyed,” he said of the event in Dubai.
“We have the understanding that you may only get one opportunity in each of our quadrennials. It’s a four-year term and then you hope to be re-appointed for a second four-year term and approved, of course, by FINA.”
That was his only international placement during his first four-year term. He then got another four-year term that turned out to be even more eventful.
Shewfelt was selected to officiate at the World Aquatic Championships in Barcelona in 2013, the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
He said there are no words to express his gratitude at being able to take part it the world’s biggest sporting event.
“The chance and the opportunity were like winning the lottery, in my mind.”
Throughout his career, Shewfelt has held a variety of positions with the aquatic club, including president, director and manager of swim competitions. He’s also been instrumental in developing officials throughout Canada.
He continues to volunteer but his emphasis has changed.
“I won’t do any more international events,” he said.
“Now my focus is to continue to work the (pool) deck and volunteer with developing other officials, mentoring, evaluations and certifications. I’m picking and choosing things I want to do.”
He said he gets a lot of personal satisfaction by helping.
“There certainly wasn’t any expectation when I started doing this that I was going to go to the Olympics,” he said.
“My goal was just to achieve the next level of certification.”