The Island Swim Club in Victoria hosted the inaugural Bennett Cup in memory of the late Swim Canada head coach and Island Swimming director Randy Bennett.
Fifteen eligible Sharks travelled to Victoria for the early season heats-and-finals competition. The meet had some of Canada’s best competing – Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane and Olympic team member Hillary Caldwell.
Day 1 highlights saw Tasmin Willms (11) start the meet with a 15-second drop in the 200 back, then teammates Brooke Lamoureux (16) and Jordyn Ryan (16) qualified for the top eight final. Rafe Perry (11) achieved a final in the 200 back (1st), 200 IM (7th) and 100 free (4th), racing to personal bests in each event.
The first day of racing ended at nearly 10 p.m. Exhausted from the long day of personal bests, the athletes needed to quickly find the excitement and focus to be ready to duplicate their successes from Day 1.
With no surprise, Willms started the team off with another big swim, dropping 11 seconds in the 100 back followed by Evan Kostuik (11) shedding another five seconds from only six days earlier at the Comox Fall Five.
Day 2 was highlighted by Laine Perry (10) breaking the three-minute barrier in the 200 free followed by Gabrielle Wolfe (15) placing third in the 200 fly with a best time of 2:29.45 and Jaden Fath (13), competing in his first 1500 free, qualifying for another B.C. AA championship time and narrowly missing his first AAA cut.
“Sprint Day,” the final day, included every 50 metre race (butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke with the 400 free and IM). “The final day of the meet can be very difficult to find the speed and endurance needed to create personal successes, a true test of every athlete’s mental fortitude,” said CVAC head coach Kris Bell. “And the Sharks accepted the challenge with almost 80 per cent personal bests.”
FINISH LINES The following weekend Tyra Arends (11) made the trip back to Victoria after being selected to attend a Vancouver Island prospects camp for 12 & Under … in early December, over 50 Sharks will be returning to Victoria to compete against over 700 swimmers from across the country in the Christmas Cracker … Bell thanks the Sharks’ sponsors for helping encourage team spirit in the Comox Valley … the Sharks travel to and from competitions in the Comox Valley Nissan courtesy vehicle … if you are interested in joining the Sharks program, they will be hosting assessments for their Winter Shark School program Dec. 14-15 at the Aquatic Centre from 4:30-6 p.m. … the winter session for Shark School runs for 11 weeks starting Jan. 4 – no appointment necessary, bathing suits mandatory! …