The Sharks are off! This season, 120 swimmers have returned to swim with the Sharks. Training has been intense and energetic under the leadership of coach Kris Bell.
Recently, 37 swimmers travelled to Victoria for the annual Xmas Cracker. This meet attracts some of British Columbia’s finest along with a number of heavyweights from out-of-province such as the Edmonton Keyano and Edmonton Olympians swim clubs.
The Sharks turned the Commonwealth Pool into a frenzied shark tank where swimmers aged eight to 17 turned in a mountain of smiles and cheers, personal firsts and best times and broke 30 club records en route to a seventh place overall finish. Every day of the three-day meet was a demonstration of club pride and team support as each Shark cheered on their teammates.
The youngest Sharks, Laine Perry (8) and Kali Brown (8), both competed with the success of champions in long events and winning their heats. Tyra Arends (9) swam an epic 800m freestyle event with her older sisters Jay Ryan and Joyce cheering her on every stroke of the way to her first A qualifier.
Shayna Jewitt (10) and Sara Matthews (14) used this meet to set a number of personal best times. Competing for the first time in the Commonwealth Pool were a strong contingent of new swimmers highlighted by Iris Tinmouth (9) displaying her signature firecracker enthusiasm, Tiffany Brown (12), Avry Bowers (12), Tasmin Willms (9), Jaden Fath (11), Graham Tattrie (10) and Sydney Postle (11) who all showed competitive spirit and race determination.
Not to be outdone, the junior Sharks seemed to breed success at every level. Edyn Nowak stripped time off race after race and chopped off a whopping 10 seconds in her 100m freestyle. Rafe Perry (9) brought the incredible focus of a seasoned competitor to every metre, attacking each race with determination.
Alec Huisamen (11), Eric Jung (11), Caleb Ney (11) and Colin Theriault (12) were supportive teammates and showed the crowds just what team spirit is. Standing out for personal achievement was Janaya Ryan (11) who celebrated her first provincial AA standard and Josiah Ney (13) who grabbed a provincial AAA standard for his performance in the 200m backstroke.
The Sharks senior swimmers continued to build strength and confidence in every race they swam. Every night saw a Shark in the top eight competing for a medal.
Highlights of the finals saw Cole Young (14) break 1:10 for the first time in the 100 breaststroke and win gold while Brooke Lamoureux sealed the gold medal in the 1500m freestyle with a berth to compete at the Pan Pacific Trials in Victoria.
Joyce Arends (17) stole third place in the 100m butterfly, breaking 1:06 and setting a club record. Ethan Ashley (14) made finals on both nights and broke 1:00 for the 100m freestyle for the first time.
Juliana Bartemucci (16) made the impressive accomplishment of making finals in every race she swam and broke 28 seconds for the first time in the 50m freestyle. Josh Dolman (16), Michael Jung (15), Jared Theriault (15) and Brendan Sharp (16) lent their support to the 4x50m team relay where they set a club record.
Emma Neufeld (16) fought through a shoulder injury to make finals in the 100m and 200m backstroke while helping her relay team comprised of Joyce Arends (17), Juliana Bartemucci (16) and Julia Kleinshmidt (16) set four club relay records.
Ben Neufeld (14) made finals in all events, set eight club records including breaking one minute in the 100m backstroke and rounding out his Western Canadian qualifying times to seven.
Gabby Wolfe (13) and Amelia Elder(14) closed the meet competing in the 800m freestyle, both girls dropping time with the help of teammate Jordyn Ryan running up and down the pool deck cheering her friends on.
Earlier that evening, Jordyn (14) broke two of the club’s oldest records in the 200m breaststroke and 400 IM.
Team pride and support was evident when Julia Kleinschmidt (16), an exchange student from Germany who has been swimming with the club, ran behind the starting blocks to help our youngest swimmer Kali Brown (8) achieve her best with helpful, last-minute tips.
Coach Bell is looking forward to seeing more Sharks complete in the Winter Invitational at the Comox Valley Aquatic Centre on Jan. 11-12, 2014.
“It is very exciting to see young and new swimmers pursuing excellence each and every time they enter the water,” Bell said. The local meet will be another opportunity to showcase the Valley’s up-and-coming talent.
FINISH LINES A special thanks to the families and friends of the Sharks who dedicate their time and efforts to making training and competition possible for these young stars … for more information about joining one of the Sharks’ many programs see their website at www.sharks.bc.ca …
– Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks