The small but mighty Ladysmith Chemainus Orcas Swim Club (LCSC) made a splash at the recent Vancouver Island Regional Championship last month, racing to plenty of personal best times and even a few medals.
A total of nine swimmers travelled to Duncan’s Cowichan Sportsplex for the four-day meet that attracted nine other clubs from Victoria to Campbell River.
Ten-year-old Aiden Jeffries captured gold in 50 and 100 metre freestyle, 50 and 100 metre breaststroke as well as silver in the 50 metre backstroke.
Shane Valic, 17, added a silver in the 15 & Over 50 metre freestyle, as well as two bronzes in the 50 metre breaststroke and 100 metre freestyle.
LCSC achieved approximately 80 per cent best times with many swimmers finishing in the top eight after preliminaries, which qualified them for a second swim at night in the finals.
Whether it’s the next step up to provincials or a dream of swimming at the Olympics, the Vancouver Island Regionals are more or less the first in a series of qualifying meets in the competitive swimming ranks.
“It gives them a taste and shows them where you need to start with in the beginning to get to maybe where they’ve dreamed or thought about getting to,” said LCSC head coach Brandon Gonzales.
Last year there were only three LCSC swimmers who qualified for the regional meet, while this go-round there were 11 in total who achieved the qualifying standard, creating more of a team-like atmosphere on deck.
“The kids enjoy it more,” Gonzales noted. “They’re able to cheer on their teammates.”
The positive results also show the growth of the club and the direction the program is moving towards in the future.
“We are a smaller club. There’s clubs that have much larger numbers but we’re still able to compete at the highest level and put ourselves on the podium,” he said. “It’s still a sport in which you can achieve something not necessarily from having the newest and the fanciest.”
The LCSC team at regionals included Massimo Dagostini, Grace Dice, Noah Herle, Kiera Eaton, Anna Fairweather, Victoria Fry, Colton Gonzales, Aiden Jeffries, Shane Valic.