The Columbia Shuswap Selkirks Swim Club returned from the provincial championship meet with plenty to show for their efforts.
Four Selkirks’ swimmers had qualified for the Swim BC Winter Provincial Championships, held March 7 to 10 in Kamloops: Molly Fogarty (17), Hunter Stewardson (15), James Lebuke (17), and Ethan Skofteby (16). To qualify to swim at the provincials, swimmers have to be ranked among the top 15 in B.C.
Over the four days of racing the swimmers not only rose to the challenge, but went beyond their goals.
Hunter Stewardson made the finals in all three events she qualified for, breaking the club record in the 100-metre breast-stroke with a fifth-place finish and qualifying for the World Swimming Trials in Toronto. She also broke the 200m club record and placed fifth in the B division final. After working hard all season on the 200m individual medley, Stewardson dropped over two seconds off her time to place 15th overall in the provincial event.
Molly Fogarty had a great meet as well, placing just outside the medals in both the 800m and 1500m freestyle at fourth place. Always keen to swim the harder events in meets, she also placed seventh in the 200m fly-stroke and the 400m individual medley
Ethan Skofteby broke the club record in the 400m freestyle with an excellent time of 4:15.57, placing second in the B division finals. Skofteby also finished eighth in the 1500m freestyle, seventh in the 800m freestyle and seventh in the B division final of the 100m back-stroke.
James Lebuke had just returned from a training camp in Florida with the National Development Team before the provincial championships, having been selected during the National Age Group Championships in August.
Lebuke had a great meet with some very fast times for early in the season, winning gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle events as well as the 200m individual medley and making finals in the 100m and 200m breast-stroke competitions. His main focus now is the World Swimming Trials and trying to make the World Junior Team for Canada during trials in April.
The Selkirks’ relay events produced two seventh-place finishes, which is a new club record. The overall club finishes in the meet were also a new record, placing 15th in the province. This is one of the few times the club has ever broken into the top 20, and small teams rarely break into the top end due to lack of numbers and lack of relay swimmers.
From September to March, these swimmers have been working hard through up to nine practice sessions per week, plus a competitive meet every six weeks. All told, these swimmers spend 14 to 16 hours each week in the pool in addition to dry land training such as running or weight lifting.
Submitted by Barry Healey