The Trail Stingrays put up one of its best overall performances of the season on the weekend, placing second among seven teams at the Kootenay Zone Regional Swim Meet, held at the Greater Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
“The team had incredible results at regionals and every swimmer received personal best times,” said Stingrays coach Jennifer Chung. “Regionals is a huge meet and a very big deal for most of these young swimmers.”
For most Stingrays swimmers, the Regional meet is the highlight of the summer swim season. Good results requires commitment to a rigorous Stingrays program that has swimmers training twice-a-day, five days per week, including dry-land training.
“They’ve been training really hard for the past four months,” explained Chung. “Their hard work truly paid off this weekend and it was very rewarding for me and my assistant coaches to watch them put everything they had into their races and knowing that they gave it their all.”
Enjoyment and enthusiasm also play a large part, particularly for Chung, a longtime competitive swimmer, who is in her second season as the ‘Rays’ head coach, and understands the need to attract new swimmers and keep them engaged throughout the season.
“We had lots of new swimmers this year who signed up and had no idea how to swim or compete, and we’re extremely proud of how far each one of them has come,” she added. “Not only did they gain valuable skills in the water and became stronger swimmers, but they learned how to be a team player, set goals, and strive for success.”
Meet Highlights: On Saturday, Kate Fricke captured gold in the 100-m Individual Medley (IM) with a time of 1:50.8, and Claire Fricke knocked three seconds off her preliminary time in the 200-m IM to make the Div. 4 final in 3:02.24. In the IM final, Claire swam to a silver medal by slashing six seconds off her preliminary time and breaking the three-minute barrier with a time of 2:56.32.
In Div. 4 boys, Reuben Demmler took two seconds off his 200 IM in prelims, then took four seconds off in the final with 3:00.45 to claim gold.
Juliana Zhou finally broke the 30-seconds mark in her Div. 6, 50-m free, taking one second off in finals with a time of 29.82 for the gold.
Other highlights included Camden McNair, Div 2, slashing two seconds off the 50 free with a 40.28 to win bronze, and Fionn Miller, Div. 3, paring four seconds off his 50 fly time with 42.31, and a fourth-place finish.
In Sunday’s races Ryder Cain, took 10 seconds off in 50-m back in prelims with 1:13.13, and another two seconds in the finals for a 1:11.56 and a gold medal.
Ripley Shubert, Div 4, earned gold by chopping two seconds off in 100-m breast final with 1:27.91.
Keira Demmler, Div 2, took a second off in 50 breast prelim, with 53.73, then in finals she groomed over two seconds off with a 51.06 for the gold.
Andrew Fricke captured gold in Div. 4 boys by slashing four seconds off his previous best in his 100-m back finals with a 1:38.91.
Grady McAuley, Div 4, took two seconds off in 100 back finals with 1:51.09 and claimed silver.
In Div. 1, Aubrey Demmler grabbed silver by knocking four seconds off his 50-breast finals time with 1:08.63.
In Div. 3, Leah McNair won bronze in 50 breast, by taking one second off in prelims with 47.83.
All the Stingrays’ Saturday and Sunday relays placed in the top three. Saturday was a 200-m Medley Relay and Sunday was the 200-m Free Relay.
Div 2 girls: Keira Demmler, Layla Plaxton, Avery McAuley, and Kate Fricke won gold on Saturday and Sunday.
Div 3 boys: Camden McNair, Ryder Cain, Aubrey Demmler, and Fionn Miller topped the podium with gold on Saturday and a silver on Sunday.
Div 4 boys: Reuben Demmler, Grady McAuley, Andrew Fricke, and Ripley Shubert captured gold in both medley and free relays.
Div 7 girls: Kayla Fraser, Leah McNair, Claire Fricke, and Juliana Zhou earned silver in both relays.
Kimberley and Nelson tied for top spot in the team competition with Trail finishing second, Grand Forks in third, Castlegar fourth, Colville fifth, and Creston sixth.
Five swimmers will represent the Stingrays at Provincials held in Surrey, Aug. 17-19, including Reuben Demmler, Juliana Zhou, and Kate, Claire, and Paul Fricke.