By Michele Greb
Local pool speedsters from the Marlins Swim Club have ended their regular season competitions on a high note, fielding an impressive team of 24 competitors ranging in age from 7 to 17.
Their weekend started out with a dual meet (two team format) composed of the top 40 swimmers from across the Pacific Northwest region, split into two teams. The racing Friday night was fast and furious and purely for the joy of racing, in Terrace’s newly refurbished and opened pool.
Saturday morning provided the top 20 12-years-old and younger swimmers in the region with a SwimBC Regional Development Camp, with special guest Hillary Caldwell, a former Olympian and Canadian national team star.
Seven swimmers from Kitimat were able to take advantage of this rare offering from SwimBC for non-national level athletes. Swimmers Abbee Rusconi, Louie Quinn, Jacob Van Horne, Dallas Gray, Daniel Park, Megan Forrest and Gavin Thomopoulos spent Saturday morning learning from one of Canada’s swimming heroes.
Saturday afternoon saw the Marlins team up for what resulted in the most successful competition of the season, over two days of intensely high energy and spirit.
“This is the first competition we have had this season where everyone took home an award,” said head coach Michele Greb. “I carted a box of ribbons back to our pool and spent half an hour sorting them out.
“Everyone, even our smallest Mini Marlins, had at least two races where they placed top six. Most had all six events, the most they could enter, being top six.”
In the sport of competitive swimming, swimmers at the non-championship level are generally awarded ribbons for placing equal to the number of lanes in the pool where the competition is held, with the exception of relays (four per team), which recognizes first through third only. Next up for the Marlins is the year-end competition for age group swimmers, the BC Championships, happening in Chilliwack from June 21 to 23. Six swimmers qualified, but only four will attend.
“Competition is always an option, but the big meets get expensive for younger swimmers, because at least one parent travels along with them, and usually a whole family attends,” said coach Greb.
“Once an athlete is older, over 13, sports teams travel as a team with a chaperone, so the costs decrease. It’s expensive to get anywhere from up here as almost every major competition is held in the Lower Mainland.
“There are no travel subsidies for northern region swimmers. Plus, this meet is poorly timed for the end of the school year, so we lost our top two points scorers. Still, I expect some solid results from the swimmers.”
Swimmers attending this championship competition are Megan Forrest, Louie Quinn, Jacob Van Horne and Lucas Johnston.