Local swimmers impress in home pool at Summer Games
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Jul 31, 2014 06:00 am
With hometown supporters cheering them on, and with the pool at Genesis Place Recreation Centre providing a bit of a home court advantage, swimmers from Airdrie were able to make their way onto the podium on numerous occasions during the 2014 Alberta Summer Games from July 25 to 27.
“I think when you have the support of your community behind you and when the event is also on your home turf, you have that extra motivation to do well,” Kayla Goruk, 14, said.
“Everyone just wanted to do well for Zone 2, if you were from Airdrie or not,” Madaleine Polsfut, 12, added.
“We wanted to finish as high as we could in the standings, and if we got a medal, that was great.”
Goruk, who won six gold medals and four silver medals at 2012 Alberta Summer Games in Lethbridge, matched her gold medal output in Airdrie in the category two division for swimmers born in the year 2000.
She finished in first place in the 200-metre individual medley, the 200-metre butterfly, the 50- and 100-metre freestyles, and the 4x50 freestyle and medley relays, in addition to a bronze-medal result in the 50-metre butterfly.
“I was pretty calm and knew what to expect after going into 2012, so I was able to just be really laid back in my approach and I had a lot of fun during the event,” Goruk said. “I just wanted to win a gold medal at home, but to have six again was pretty incredible.”
Polsfut had a stellar showing in her first Summer Games trip, as she won four golds and three silvers in the category four division for swimmers born in the years 2002.
She finished in first place in the 100-metre individual medley, the 100-metre freestyle, the 100-metre backstroke, and the 50-metre butterfly races.
Her silver medals came in the 50-metre backstroke, 50-metre freestyle, and the 4x50-metre freestyle relay events.
“It was a surprise for me that I did so well, and I really wasn’t expecting to get that many medals,” Polsfut said.
“I just tried my hardest during the entire event, and things just worked out for me.”
According to Zone 2 Head Coaches Emma Hesterman and Thomas South of Okotoks, the entire team of swimmers came into the meet with a strong work ethic that allowed them to succeed.
“Everyone improved on their technique and took the advice that we gave to them in order to succeed,” Hesterman said.
“They’ve all shown a lot of improvement that came to fruition this weekend.”
“What’s neat for me is to see how well they have gelled as a group, especially when they come together from different teams,” South added.
“They only had a couple of practices together before the Summer Games, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from how well they have performed.”
Other Airdrie swimmers who made it onto the podium during the 2014 Alberta Summer Games were:
• Matthew Arango (Category 4 – 2002): silver in 100-metre butterfly and 100-metre breaststroke, bronze in 100-metre backstroke and 200-metre breaststroke
• Reid Glatz (Category 2 – 2000): gold in 50-, 100-, and 200-metre butterfly, silver in 100- and 200-metre backstroke, and 200-metre individual medley, bronze in 4x50-metre medley relay
• Kiera Mackenzie (Category 2 – 2000): gold in 100-metre individual medley, 50-, 100-, and 200-metre backstroke, and 4x50-metre freestyle and medley relays, silver in 100- and 400-metre freestyle.
• Zachariah McLeod (Category 3 - 2001) – gold in 100-metre individual medley, silver in 400-metre individual medley and 4x50-metre freestyle relay, bronze in 50-metre freestyle and 100-metre backstroke
• Michael Schaan (Category 4 – 2002) – silver in 200-metre freestyle and 4x50-metre freestyle relay, bronze in 200-metre individual medley and 100-metre freestyle
• Alexander Sharpe (Category 5 – Paralympians and Special Olympics Swimmers) – bronze in 50-metre breaststroke
• Ethan Smith (Category 3 – 2001): gold in 100- and 200-metre freestyle, and 100-metre backstroke, silver in 200-metre backstroke, 400- and 800-metre freestyle, and 4x50-metre freestyle relay
• Melia St. Louis (Category 2 – 2000): gold in 4x50-metre freestyle relay, silver in 50-metre backstroke and 500-metre individual medley, bronze in 100-metre backstroke and 100-metre individual medley