A summer of intense training and competition came to a close for many Trail Stingrays swimmers, as the local swim team competed in the Kootenay Regional Summer Swim Meet in Nelson on the weekend.
A series of meets across the Kootenays over the summer prepared close to 30 swimmers from the Greater Trail area for the Regional meet and a chance to qualify for the Provincials in Kamloops in two weeks.
However, the mandate of Stingrays coach Jennifer Chung is not necessarily to create Olympic athletes, but to introduce youngsters to the sport of competitive swimming, to develop young swimmers by instilling a solid work ethic, an enjoyment of the process as much as the competition, and to grow as individuals and athletes.
“It’s always sad to see the season come to an end, but I enjoyed watching each swimmer grow as a person and in their athletic careers,” added Chung. “Although not every meet ended in victory for us, as a team we still competed hard from start to finish.”
In the end the Stingrays swam to over 50 personal best times and took home over 70 medals.
“The team swam really well and I’m very proud of every single one of them,” said Chung. “I’m always impressed and blown away by how much they’ve improved in just four months. For most of the swimmers this was their last swim meet of the season, so many gave it their all, putting in 110 per cent effort into their races.”
Highlights of the meet included Diego Greenwood breaking the one-minute barrier in the 100-metre freestyle by beating his previous best time of 1:00.14, with a new time of 59.87.
Stingray relay teams excelled at the meet with the O’Cat 2 medley relay team of Sloan Welsh, Jill O’Hearn-Stone, Claire Fricke, and Kayla Fraser setting a new Regional relay record in a time of 3:01.41.
The Div. 2 team of Leah McNair, Keira Demmler, Olivia Fillmore, and Kate Fricke also captured gold in the 200-m free relay, and the Div 3 boys relay team of Reuben Demmler, Fionn Miller, Ripley Shubert, and Ryder Tymchyshyn swept gold in the 200-m free relay and the 200-m medley.
In Div. 7, Chung, Maddy Fraser, Juliana Zhou, and Ellie Knox captured gold in the medley relay and second in the free relay.
And to cap off an excellent meet, the foursome of Andrew Fricke, Caleb Demmler, Paul Fricke and Jaxzen Marion topped the podium in both the 200-m medley and the 200-m free relays.
Zhou also knocked off five seconds from her 100-m backstroke to swim a provincial qualifying time of 1:12.78.
The Stingrays swam to fifth place overall at the Regional meet with Castlegar taking top spot, followed by Kimberley, Grand Forks, and Nelson, with Creston and Colville coming in sixth and seventh respectively.
Eight Stingrays swimmers qualified for the Provincials and will be competing in Kamloops from Aug. 18-20, including Aubrey Demmler Div 1, Sawyer Tymchyshyn Div 1, Keira Demmler Div 2, Fionn Miller Div 2, Ryder Tymchyshyn Div 2, Reuben Demmler Div 3, Juliana Zhou Div 5, and Caleb Demmler Div 8.