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Gonzales soars to eight first-place finishes in regional swim meet

Other Orcas swimmers make waves in prestigious competition

Six members of the Ladysmith Chemainus Swim Club competed in the Vancouver Island Regional Championships Jan. 26-27 at the Comox Valley Aquatic Centre.

The Orcas swimmers established race times to qualify for the meet which featured the strongest swimmers on the Island. Though a small contingent, the Orcas made a big impact led by strong performances from Colton Gonzales, who took first place in all eight of his events, including the boys 13-14 years 100 metre backstroke, 200 freestyle and 200 backstroke.

“Colton’s efforts demonstrate a dedication to hard work and this event is a stepping stone for building confidence as he prepares for Western Canadian Championships in Winnipeg, March 21-24,” noted Brandon Gonzales, head coach of the Orcas.

Other results included strong swims by Taelin Stephen, who reached the podium in the girls 13 and over 200 backstroke and 100 backstroke. Graydon Gonzales showed consistent swimming with top 10 finishes in the boys 11-12 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly and 200 breaststroke.

Team members Natalie Beerling, Oscar Caskey and Erika Lewis all set qualifying times for the first time this season. They competed hard and all established personal bests at the competition.

Coach Gonzales expressed pride in all of the swimmers who participated and is excited to see what the future brings for them.

“It was great to have all of these swimmers get a taste for this next level of competition and to showcase how they had earned the right to participate through all the efforts they put into practice in the months leading up to VIRs,” he said.

The Orcas are competing Feb. 10 at a Level Up competition at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre which is open to competitors of all levels. Many swimmers are preparing to step up on the starting blocks for fun and exciting races against other local swimmers.

Registration is still open for any children or youth interested in joining the Orcas. More information about the club is available at

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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