Sarah Loken has had a lot on her plate lately.
Many can likely relate to being busy, but not everyone has to balance a gruelling practice, competition and travel schedule for curling alongside other commitments such as a job and interpersonal relationships.
For 23-year-old Loken, a White Rock resident whose home club is Peace Arch Curling Club, it’s all a par for the course.
Her women’s team, skipped by Clancy Grandy, has had an exceptionally successful 2022-23 season, winning or placing in a number of World Cup events and representing B.C. at the recent Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kamloops, where they placed fifth in their first trip to the event.
Having travelled to Ottawa on Thursday (April 6), Loken, who curls lead, joined her teammates Grandy, second Lindsay Dubue and third Kayla MacMillan to watch some of the men’s world curling competition before continuing on to Toronto on Monday (April 10), to prepare for their own competition in the Grand Slam of Curling Players Championship, entitled the Princess Auto Players’ Championship, which happens April 11-16.
“I’m very excited to go back and play with my team,” Loken said, noting the foursome has committed to the next four years together with one goal in mind: the 2026 Olympics in Italy.
“We’ve been working together as a team all year for these next competitions coming up,” she said last week, prior to the Players’ Championship.
While she also plays mixed doubles with her boyfriend, Cody Tanaka of the Richmond Curling Club, Loken says there are too many differences between playing on a team of four to compare it to playing mixed doubles with Tanaka.
“I think they’re so different – even though it’s curling – having a team and playing with just one other person makes it an entirely different game… there’s fewer rocks that you throw, there’s rocks that are already set up… it’s just different,” she said.
She remembers watching curling on TV growing up, and how she and her family attended some of the curling when Vancouver hosted the Olympics in 2010.
“In 2012, when the Peace Arch Curling Club was renovated, they had an ad in the paper and my mom said, ‘Why don’t we just go and give it a go?’,” Loken recalled.
“I haven’t really looked back since.”
She played in the junior program at the Peace Arch club for a few years before her mom found out about a competitive league, which she jumped at the chance to join.
“I started competing when I was 15 and we made it to provincials every year that I’ve played,” she said.
Her mom, Susan Loken, is so proud of how her daughter is doing.
“They make it look so easy but they practise, practise, practise all the time,” Susan said.
“She’s a hard worker and it shows.”
When she’s not practising or competing in curling, or spending time with family and friends, Loken is busy working as a pharmacy tech at a compounding pharmacy in Vancouver.
“Our ultimate goal is to represent Canada at the Olympics in 2026,” Sarah said.
“I’m just so excited for our next few years together.”
Susan, who tries to get to as many competitions as she can, said she’ll be there to support her daughter in Saskatchewan’s capital.
“I’ll be there in Regina. It’s so nice to be able to cheer them on,” she said.
“I’m so overwhelmed at how well her team is doing.”