The Trail Stingray swimmers have yet to hit their peak, but they’ve certainly climbed to the top of Kootenay ‘A’ swim competition this summer, and hope to reach the summit at the regional meet in Colville this weekend.
The team won virtually every swim meet it entered including last weekend’s Kimberley Seahorse event, with every swimmer turning out personal best times despite enduring its most difficult training regimen just prior to the meet.
“A lot of them did really well last weekend, which is great because they just came off challenge week as well, which is really intense training and then to go best times the weekend right after that, they were really proud of that,” said Rays coach Samme Beatson.
The annual challenge week occurs approximately two weeks before regionals, and is an intense week of hiking, biking, workouts, swims, and a fun but fatiguing mini-bootcamp/obstacle-course race at Champion Lakes to top it off.
“We do some really intense training and a lot of team building activities to get us ready for regionals and provincials,” said Beatson. “We train them really hard, and then they get a taper into regionals and provincials so they can do their best at those meets.”
The Rays coach began the year with a purpose, to improve each Stingray’s stroke.
“I was focusing a lot on technique this year, and I really think the goals I’ve set for the team have been met, technique-wise, so I’m really happy with that.”
The formula Beatson and assistant coach Cody Flegel have incorporated since the start of the season has paid off. Improved technique has translated into faster times, and higher finishes. The results speak for themselves – swimmers achieved multiple personal bests this summer, set numerous meet records, picked up a myriad of medals, and collectively captured the team aggregate trophy in five major swim meets.
The teams’ greatest challenge lies before them. The all-important regional meet qualifies athletes for the BCSSA provincial championship. A top-three finish, or meeting the provincial qualifying time in this week’s meet will send a swimmer to the provincials in Nanaimo Aug. 18-22.
Beatson anticipates 10 or more swimmers from the Rays will qualify for the provincial team, but is more than happy with the progress of those who won’t make it – as long as they improved their stroke, enjoyed themselves, and of course swam their personal best.
“I’m very happy with this program this year, everybody has improved a lot over the couple months we had,” said Beatson. “As for regionals, I’m hoping for best times for everybody, and at this point I think that’s a very attainable goal.”