Local swimmers headed to Westerns
Six swimmers from the Nose Creek Swim Association (NCSA) are headed to the Speedo Western Canadian Championships. The meet will be held in Saskatoon, Feb 14 to 17.
Elaina Smith and Andrea Gibson are two of the Airdronians that are heading to Saskatchewan and the other NCSA swimmers include Jonathan Brown, Ken Stairs, Joshua Smigel and Mackenzie Ponting.
The six individuals advanced to Westerns after meeting the time criteria at the provincial meet in Lethbridge, Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.
“We did really well,” said NCSA head coach Dave Loyola. “We came home with a lot of medals. As far as scoring, we were the third highest ranked team in the Calgary area. I was happy with our performance. We had a lot of momentum and a lot of great swimming.”
One of the NCSA medals came courtesy of Brown, who won gold in the 400-metre individual medley (IM). His other placings included seventh in the 100-metre breaststroke, eighth in the 100-metre freestyle and 13th in the 50-metre breaststroke.
NCSA had two swimmers on the podium in the 400-metre IM as Stairs won bronze. He also placed ninth in the 50-metre breaststroke and 17th in the 100-metre breaststroke. Gibson placed 12th in the 50-metre butterfly, 13th in the 400-metre freestyle, 15th in the 100-metre free and 21st in the 200-metre fly.
Three of Ponting’s finals ended with a top 10 finish, including the 100-metre free in which he placed fifth. He finished seventh in the 100-metre backstroke and eighth in the 400-metre free. Joshua Smigel placed 19th in the 50-metre breaststroke.
NCSA also medalled in one of the three relays it swam, winning silver in the boys 800-metre freestyle ‘A’ relay. The boys also placed fifth in the 400-metre relay and the girls placed 10th in the 400-metre freestyle.
Smith will be heading to Westerns for the first time thanks to a eighth place finish in the 100-metre free and a ??? finish in the 50-metre free. She also placed 15th in the 800-metre free and 16th in the 400-metre free.
The two times that were required to advance to Westerns were Smith’s goals heading into the provincial meet. Her placements also launched her up the provincial rankings. She was hovering around 26th in the province in both the 100- and 50-metre freestyles, but it now ranked third in Alberta in the 100-metre free and eighth in the province in the 50-metre free among 15-year-old swimmers.
“It went really well,” she said. “I was expecting to get (the time) for the 50-metre, but not both. There was a lot of fist pumping and smiling. I was really happy and it was very exciting.”
She only has a week to prepare for Westerns, but she already has her eyes set on another pair of goals, one being to swim the 100-metre free in under a minute and to up her provincial ranking in the 50-metre free.
“Basically, I want to go as fast as I can in that one,” she said.
For the team, the quick, week-long break has been a matter of rest and fine tuning the errors from their provincial swims.
“It’s about getting the speed up and for the swimmers to be resting,” Loyola said. “We’d definitely like to have some of our swimmers selected for Team Alberta and the Swim Canada teams and we’d definitely like to come home with a few gold medals.”