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Client Profile: Jillian Drouin


Local elite athletes; most of us hear about them one way or another. Most people in our community are very aware of Derek Drouin and his success in the 2012 London Olympics (Bronze in High Jump). In many ways it is odd to couple this brother/sister pair because their stories are so unique; however, from the outside looking in these two are quite the dynamic track duo for Lambton County. Conversely, Jill actually started her story 4 years before Derek, being the older sister by as many years.

Growing up like most, Jill attended St Joes in Corunna then continued on at the old St Pats. From there she was recruited to compete at the University level and ultimately decided Syracuse would be her home during that time. “On top of being closest to home and having a great exercise science program, I immediately clicked with the coach. He was an NCAA champion in the Decathlon and it was a great opportunity for me to learn from a multi-event athlete like myself.”

Playing multiple sports growing up, the heptathlon (the women’s version of the decathlon) was a natural choice for Jill. For those who are not track savvy in the heptathlon you compete in 7 events on two consecutive days. Day 1 you participate in the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m sprint. Day 2 is rounded out with long jump, javelin and the 800m. Arguably the most complete athletes in the sport, you can see how Jill’s multi-sport upbringing helped to prepare her for a long career in track and field.

However, unaware of club track until grade 11, Jill was some-what of a late comer to national team radar but that didn’t stop her rise to an elite level. She competed at the world youth championships in grade 11. She was also 4th the first time she competed in the heptathlon in grade 12 at Canada nationals. She never looked back. During her time at Syracuse she won her conference (Big East) four times (1x with high jump, 1x with Pentathlon, 2x heptathlon). She still holds both the Big East and school records for the pentathlon and heptathlon (indoor and outdoor) and she was also named an All-American for the heptathlon before she graduated, a prestige only granted to the top 8 finishers in the sport for NCAA division 1.

Before completing her four years at Syracuse her career in the sport took a turn after hurting her back at the conference championship in her fourth year. Once finishing her undergrad Jill spent a year in England for chiropractic school.

“When I hurt my back, it felt like I needed some time to break away from the sport, competing in England after graduating was more for fun. I was able to shift my focus and take some pressure off.”

Jill returned to Canada to complete her schooling in chiropractic care in Toronto and resumed a heavy training load. This took her to the U-23 NACAC championships in 2008, the francophone games in 2009, the commonwealth games in 2010 and the FISU games in 2011 (all events where Jill represented Canada and competed against other countries of the world).

By 2012, Jill had acquired a few more setbacks when she broke a bone in her foot and tore her patellar tendon twice. She shifted gears, moved back home and continued her training with Joel Skinner (a local high performance track and field coach). After winning the heptathlon at the national championships in 2014, she was set to compete in the Pan-Am Games in 2015 until a hamstring injury sidelined her for the event.

Post summer 2015, she and Joel felt it was re-evaluation time.

“As elite female athletes in Canada, we get accustomed to finding our own way; making school, career and your sport work and figuring out how to manage everything and still compete. When Lyle reached out to help it was much welcomed and perfect timing. He had the same outlook and vision I had for myself as an athlete and with Joel, John Vargo and him (among many other great individuals) I really have felt like I have a whole team working to help me achieve my goals.”

Before Jill came into LD fitness, she assumed there was certain deficiencies she had as an athlete that were issues she just had to work around to compete on an elite stage. It was a mental block for her to think of herself as a “strong athlete”.

”I have noticed I am much stronger in my training sessions in and out of the gym and my results in testing show it as well. Working with Lyle keeps me focused and motivated [which is important as a veteran athlete]. Mentally I have more confidence and the approach here makes me feel protected as an athlete while at the same time really pushing me to reach new levels”

Currently, Jill has her sights set on a heptathlon in Santa Barbara in April, where she will have the opportunity to qualify to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

At LD Fitness we love working with our athletes and always look forward to continuing to help others with like-minded goals. So excited to watch Jill compete for Canada. GO JILL GO!

Very Brief Overview of Jill’s Athletic Timeline

2003 World Youth Championships

2004 Fourth at Canadian Junior Championships

2005 Fourth at Junior Pan American Games

2006 Big East Conference Champion for first time (high jump)

2007 All American at Syracuse

2008 U-23 NACAC Championships & Back Injury

2009 Francophone Games

2010 Commonwealth Games

2011 FISU Games & Foot and Knee Injuries begin

2012 Foot and Knee Injuries Continue

2013 Moves Home, returns to Hep

2014 Wins National Championship for Hep

2015 Hamstring Injury

2016 Olympics in Rio

Other Facts about Jill:

-Jill played basketball with Kendel in High school and actually had opportunities to play in university as well and only decided to go with track after guidance from a local mentor.

-On top of track and field and basketball Jill competed in soccer, hockey, volleyball and cross-country growing up.

-Jill met her Husband in high school and he has stuck by her for her entire career, they were married in 2013 and currently reside in Sombra.

-Jill took a 5 year hiatus from the heptathlon from 2009-2013 where she only competed in high jump.

-In 2011, when Jill competed in Shenzhen, China at the Fisu Games, Kendel was also representing Canada at the same event for basketball. They attended each other’s events in support.

-Jill was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2014 (An autoimmune disease triggered by gluten ingestion), which she has successfully worked around in order to adequately fuel herself for her sport and life.

-Her brother got his start when he would attend Jill’s High Jump practices while he was in elementary school.

-Jill also has a sister, 3 years younger, who competed on a hockey scholarship in the states.

-Jill credits her parents with raising their family with a value to always be physically active, she feels very fortunate to have been given every opportunity to follow her dreams through them.

-Over her career Jill has travelled all over North America, Europe and Asia.

Posted Thursday, January 28, 2016

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