Meet Norfolk's newest sports hall inductees

Haven Swarts of Port Dover is being inducted into the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition for her success in the sport of gymnastics. (CONTRIBUTED) Contributed photo / Norfolk Sports Hall

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The newest inductees to the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition have excelled as athletes and have also gone on to share their passion for sports.

The newest members of the hall are George and Mary Ann Pieters, Bob Proracki and Haven Swarts.  This group represents outstanding accomplishments in athletic success as well as leadership in officiating and coaching.

George and Mary Ann Pieters of Simcoe have contributed more than 40 years of their time and talents to the sport of archery. Both got their start at the former Belgian Hall in Delhi.

George and Mary Ann Pieters have been inducted into the Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition for their more than 40 years put into archery in the community. (CONTRIBUTED) jpg, SR

The Pieters have five generations of archers, starting with George’s dad and going all the way through to George and Mary Ann’s great-grandchildren.

They have expanded their influence as role models, coaches and ambassadors for teaching archery to various youth organizations across Norfolk County.  George and Mary Ann have also won championship titles at many local, national and international archery events.

For each of the youth organizations for which they run program, they like to make sure that each participant leaves with a pin, medal, or trophy to show off how they did.

“The main thing is being out in the public and helping these kids,” said Mary Ann. “It’s all about making the kids happy.”

Bob Proracki, a Waterford native, is one of the 2019 Norfolk County Sports Hall of Recognition inductees for his time as an outstanding athlete and official in multiple sports. (CONTRIBUTED) jpg, SR

Bob Proracki, a Waterford native, is being recognized as an outstanding athlete and official in a variety of sports. Most notable is Proracki’s success as a pitcher in the sport of fastball, which spanned over 44 years. During that time, he was part of a number of championship titles including an “AA” Provincial Championship with the London Major League.

Proracki played ball for teams across Ontario including pitching in Woodstock and Brampton.

He later became a qualified official in basketball and volleyball.

As a father Proracki taught his children the life lessons of sports, including the fact there is no ‘i’ in the word team.

“They all played sports and worked on the farm. Entitlement was not part of their situation,” said Proracki.

Haven Swarts of Port Dover has achieved tremendous success as a power tumbler in the sport of gymnastics.

Starting at age eight, Swarts was introduced to the sport of tumbling at the Simcoe Gliders club.  As a youth, she went on to represent Ontario and Canada at international events.

Her trophy case includes several gold medals from Canadian championships and a Top 10 placing at the worlds. She has competed in international competitions in places such as Bulgaria, Great Britain, and Denmark.

Swarts is also an accomplished hockey player and gives back to the community by mentoring young athletes with special needs. She has also worked with a program that gives youths that otherwise couldn’t afford hockey a chance to participate in the sport.

“I feel grateful to be recognized, and for all of my hard work to be recognized,” Swarts said about being inducted. “All of the hours and time, my whole life has been dedicated to this. All of my hard work went into something.”

The 2019 Inductees will be celebrated at an official ceremony in 2021.

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