Ladysmith swimmer Aileen Humphreys will be making her first trip to the provincial AAA championship this weekend.
Humphreys, who is 11 and who swims with the Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas Swim Club, recently competed at the B.C. AA championship, where she won two bronze medals and qualified for the AAA championships in two events.
She won bronze medals in 200 individual medley (IM) and 400m IM and advanced to AAA in 200m breaststroke and 100m breaststroke.
Humphreys says doing so well at the AA championship was exciting, and she’s looking forward to the AAA championships because she’s never been before.
“I was surprised — very surprised and very happy,” she said.
Humphreys competed in six events at the AA championship. She won bronze in the 200m IM with a time of 2:57.01 and captured a bronze medal in the 400m IM with a time of 6:20.74. Humphreys also finished fifth in the 200m breaststroke (3:14.56) and seventh in the 100m breaststroke (1:31.92), and she was 16th in the 100m free (1:15.84) and 21st in the 50m free (34.86).
Humphreys says her favourite swimming event is probably the individual medley.
“I just like every stroke except backstroke,” she said.
Humphreys has been swimming for five or six years, and she has been a member of the Orcas for a little less than a year. She can’t remember why she started swimming.
“I just loved being in the water,” she said.
Humphreys swims with the Orcas four times a week. Her 14-year-old brother, Morgan, swims with the club as well.
Humphreys hopes to keep getting better and better.
“My first goal was to practise very hard and do a good time in the swim meet,” she said. “Now, my goal is to try get the AAA time for 12-year-olds. I try to get better with each step. “
Orcas co-coach Dusan Toth-Szabo says the No. 1 goal for Humphreys at the AA championship was to try to make the qualification time for the AAA championships.
Toth-Szabo was impressed with his swimmer’s performances at the AA championship.
“She took 12 seconds off her 100m individual medley and 20 seconds off her 200m individual medley,” he said, adding she also took four seconds off her 100m freestyle time. “She did amazingly well. She deserved it.”
The B.C. AAA championship will be held March 1-3 in Victoria, and Humphreys will be joined by Orcas teammate Faith Knelson.
Toth-Szabo says a goal for Humphreys at the AAA championship will be to improve her times.
“If she can take off time, hopefully she can make finals, but if not, it’s not a big deal because it will be a good experience for her since it’s her first time at AAA,” he said.
Following the AAA championship, many members of the Orcas will be participating in the Duncan Spring Meet March 16-17.
Orcas co-coach Aisha Alsop calls this “the perfect family meet.”
“It’s a fun meet where all our little guys get to go,” she said. “It’s a little less stressful for those guys who are nervous to compete.”
Alsop, whose own children swim, likes this meet because the younger swimmers get to watch the older swimmers, the older swimmers help the younger swimmers, and the swimmers’ parents and grandparents get to come and watch. Often, the clubs will go out for dinner afterwards, she added.
“The kids get a good, solid base for creating a solid foundation for a fun, competitive environment,” said Alsop. “Duncan is always one of those meets where we want lots of kids to come. It’s neat for us to show up with a huge number — for us. Our kids get really excited. I like it as a parent, not only as a coach.”
Alsop says they usually bring about 11 swimmers to Duncan, including some of their six-year-old swimmers.