March is the start to championship swimming in Canada, and the Columbia Shuswap Selkirks Swim Club kicked off the month by hosting the Regional A Championships in Salmon Arm.
Each year the meet keeps growing in size and, in 2019, nine clubs attend with more than 180 swimmers, including first-time visits from Cranbrook, Kootenay and Elk Valley swim clubs.
This meet is aimed at swimmers who have not qualified for Swim BC Provincial Championships. To make provincials standards, swimmers have to be ranked in some cases in the top 25 in B.C., or even in the top 30 in Canada. The standards in B.C. are the second highest in Canada.
The Selkirks have had an excellent season this year, not only in the growth in membership but with the standard and quality of young swimmers.
The competition produced some amazing swim times and races, every heat was a close race and the noise of the crowd was off the scale. Selkirks Club swimmers produced more than 150 best-time swims, which was a record for the best times done in a meet. The standard of the meet was high, and medals were awarded for those able to make the podium.
Local swimmers making the podium included: Nathan Davis Lent, 14, picking up a full set of gold, silver and bronze medals and swimming almost entirely personal best times. Finn Skofteby, 8, continued his excellent season by winning five medals and breaking five new club records. Jada Mass, 15, and George Massey, 13, both won medals and impressed coach Barry Healey with good performances despite feeling under the weather.
One of the strongest growth areas of the club has been in the girls 10-and-under swimmers. The club nearly has 20 swimmers competing in this age group, where just three years ago less than five swimmers were in this age group. During the 50-metre backstroke race, four girls in this age group all broke the club record: Avery Anne Lega, Clara Tracey, Kaylee Matee and Sabine Bukmeier.
On Saturday, the swimmers got a boost with the Mayor Alan Harrison coming to the pool to present awards to the young swimmers.
Up next, the club will travel to Kamloops where over 500 swimmers will be in town for the B.C. Provincial Swimming Championships.
Submitted by Barry Healey