The Comox Valley Blue Devils at the Nanaimo meet. Photo supplied

The Comox Valley Blue Devils at the Nanaimo meet. Photo supplied

Comox Valley Blue Devils post podium finishes, personal bests in Nanaimo

Vancouver Island Gator Games typically mark the final meet weekend of the swim season

The Comox Valley Blue Devils were able to attend their first swim meet in almost two years Aug. 6 to 9 at the Vancouver Island Gator Games in Nanaimo.

The weekend is typically the final meet weekend of the summer swimming schedule to decide which swimmers will be “Gators” representing the Vancouver Island region at the summer swimming provincials. This year with competitions and provincials being cancelled due to COVID concerns, the region decided to organize an outdoor meet at the Kin Pool in Nanaimo with the hopes that provincial regulations would allow this to occur.

The Blue Devils had 20 swimmers in attendance and much success in the pool, both with podium finishes (which would have resulted in achieving places on the regional team attending provincials) and with shattering best times. Of particular note were Callie Blasco finishing top three in all five of her individual events, and taking the gold in three (Division 4 Girls 50m Fly, 50m Free, and 100m Free), Connor McQuillin taking gold in Division 2 Boys 50m Fly and Nivek Moore taking 20 seconds off his previous best time in the 50m Free.

Blue Devils Coach Kyla deWitt (a 16-year member of the Blue Devils between swimming and coaching) expressed how great it was to be able to attend a meet after a two-year hiatus.

“I am so proud of the team. They have worked so hard all season long. Seeing the team cheering and supporting one another was such a great reminder of how wonderful the Blue Devils and summer swimming is,” she said.

Club president Cathy Holland, who helped to organize and run the meet, said, “How great it is to have an opportunity for our swimmers to get into the pool once again and test themselves against swimmers from other clubs. Swimming is great in and of itself, but having a meet like this to celebrate their efforts was a fitting end to the season.”

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Other notable results: Saesha Chernov third in the Division 1 Girls I00 IM; Henry Holland second in Division 5 Boys 100 Free, third in 50 Free; Joel Baker second in the Division 6 Boys 50 Fly, 3rd in 100 Fly; Liam Wigger second in “O” cat 2 Boys 200 IM, 2nd in 100 Breast.

While the Blue Devils had to limit the team’s numbers and offerings this year due to COVID concerns and procedures, the organization is hopeful it will be able to return to its pre-pandemic schedule, with regular meets and increased access for swimmers of all ages including the Little Devils swim program.