The Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas competed in the 2014 PCS Xmas Cracker Invitational and the DST Winter Break Invitational in early December

Orcas improve their times in final swim meet of 2014

Nine Orcas competed at the 2014 PCS Xmas Cracker Invitational Dec. 5-7 at Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria.

Getting their final taste of competition for 2014, members of the Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas Swim Club broke records, won medals and earned personal best times in Victoria.

Nine Orcas competed at the 2014 PCS Xmas Cracker Invitational Dec. 5-7 at Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria. The final competition of 2014 was a huge meet with 800 swimmers.

“It’s a pretty high level, with all the swimmers from the Island and better swimmers from the Mainland, and there was a team from Washington State,” said Orcas coach Dusan Toth-Szabo.

Toth-Szabo says four of his swimmers were sick all week and two others were a bit injured, but he thinks they did really well at the meet.

Twelve-year-old Noah Herle took an impressive 16.48 seconds off his best time in the 100m butterfly and also had three more personal best times.

At only 13, Aileen Humphreys found herself competing against many older girls in the 13-14 age group, and she made the finals in the 100m breaststroke, finishing seventh. She had five personal best times throughout the course of the meet.

Sixteen-year-old Morgan Humphreys had four new personal bests, while Cecilia Johnson, who is also 16, earned two new personal best times.

Twelve-year-old Chantal Greenhalgh earned four new personal bests and took 4.43 seconds off her time in the 100m freestyle.

Twelve-year-old Louise Wong improved her time in the 100m backstroke by an incredible 37.94 seconds and also set new best times in the 50m butterfly and the 50m freestyle.

Hubert Wong, who is 14, earned a new personal best time in the 200m breaststroke and was within one second of a best time in four other events.

Fourteen-year-old Pamela Little slashed 9.93 seconds off her time in the 100m butterfly and also improved her times in the 50m backstroke and the 100m freestyle.

Thirteen-year-old Faith Knelson set seven new club records at the meet and won five gold medals in the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 50m breaststroke and four silver medals in the 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 200m individual medley and 200m breaststroke.

“It was a very fast meet,” said Knelson. “I raced my best friend in the 200m individual medley and she beat me. There were a lot of fast girls, and I was racing a lot of girls a year older than me — I just turned 13 a few months ago, and there were girls turning 15. It was an educational meet, and I learned a lot. It was a humbling meet. It was a fun meet too, not too stressful.”

Now, Knelson is turning her attention to working hard to get ready for the Canadian Trials in early April. This fall, she was chosen as an “On Track” athlete by Swimming Canada and Swim BC, and she now has a nutritionist and a weight trainer, and she says she and her mother recently had a meeting with Mike Flegel, Swim BC’s program director and regional technical coach, and he has helped her a lot.

“It’s a big step up this year, which I’m looking forward to,” she said.

Six Orcas participated in the DST Winter Break Invitational Dec. 6 at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre in Duncan.

Twelve-year-old Mackenna Mountain finished second in the 100m freestyle and took 10.84 seconds off her time in the 50m freestyle to finish sixth.

Maxim Mountain, who is eight, slashed his time in the 25m backstroke by 5.86 seconds to finish first, while he also finished first in the 25m breaststroke and was second in the 25m butterfly.

Seven-year-old Aiden Jeffries won the 50m breaststroke and was second in the 100m breaststroke and third in the 50m backstroke, earning two new best times.

Grace Dice, who is nine, had best times in all four of her events. She was second in the 50m butterfly and third in the 50m freestyle.

Eleven-year-old Paris Jany won the 50m breaststroke and finished second in the 50m backstroke, while 14-year-old Hyacinth Bucatan finished fourth in the 50m breaststroke and took 10.01 seconds off her time in the 50m butterfly to finish fifth.

Coming up next for the Orcas is the Vancouver Island Regional Championships in Victoria during the last weekend of January.