By Michele Greb
The weekend of February 22 to 24 saw four of the top young swimmers from Kitimat going head to head in furious competition with the best age group swimmers in the province at the beautiful Vancouver Aquatic Centre.
This short course (25-metre pool) competition required provincial swimmers ages 12 and younger for girls and 13 and younger for boys, to meet strong qualifying times in at least two events, one of which is the difficult-to-master 200-metre individual medley event.
Representing Kitimat and the northwest region of B.C. were 11-year-old Jacob Van Horne, 12-year-old Megan Forrest, 12-year-old Gavin Thomopoulos and 13-year-old Graydon Rusconi.
Van Horne opened the light show by taking a whopping 20 seconds off his 100-metre metre butterfly best and a 13th place overall.
His performance was quickly followed up in the same event by Thomopoulos and Rusconi both hitting the wall with a 1:14 each. Megan Forrest’s 100 metre freestyle race had her kicking up a storm and proudly showing off some of the best underwater work in the competition with a solid 1:09.
From that point onward, a succession of personal best times and top 20 finishes rolled in like the high tide into English Bay.
Out of 25 individual events, an astounding 24 were lifetime best performances. Many were break-through races, races of such quality that they saw Kitimat’s youngsters qualifying through to when they are 14 and 15 years old.
When asked what is next up for our Marlins, head coach Michele Greb just shook her head in amazement.
“Well, for a start they get a well deserved rest! While they qualified for provincial championships in Kamloops in a couple of weeks, along with one or two others in the Swim Club, we are going to take things a bit slowly for them,” said Greb. “There’s no need to push competition against swimmers several years older than them. They need to enjoy the simply brilliant weekend for a while and let it sink in.”
The Marlins will be heading to Prince George in mid-April after an at-home training camp over school spring break. The next age group provincial competition is the third weekend in June in Chilliwack after which they’re off to full provincial championships in mid-July.
The club then takes a month off until September when the new season begins.