(Brian Cantoni/Flickr photo)

(Brian Cantoni/Flickr photo)

Ladysmith Chemainus swimmers compete against the Island

Competition included 10 swim teams with over 250 swimmers participating over the three days

Ladysmith Chemainus Swim Club made a splash at the Vancouver Island Regional Swim Competition

Saanich Commonwealth Place pool was a busy center on May 20-22, 2022. Island Swim Club was hosting the Vancouver Island Regional (VIR) Long Course Swim Competition.

The competition included 10 swim teams with over 250 swimmers participating over the three days. Two local swimmers and their coach, Brandon Gonzales, hit pool over that weekend and were quite successful at the regional event.

Thirteen year old Taelin Stephen, has been swimming for five seasons and who just moved into the next age category (13-14-year-old girls) came in 8th place in the 200m freestyle event, 10th place in 200m backstroke, and 10th in the 400m individual medley (IM). The IM is challenging event where swimmers are required to swim each of four strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breast stroke, and freestyle) one after another for a specific distance. Stephen had several best times over the week and worked hard to represent the Orcas.

Colton Gonzales, 12 at the time of the competition, came home with medals and several best times in various events including first place finishing in both the 200m and 400m individual medley (IM).

Gonzales said, “The 400m IM was really hard and I had to push harder than I planned in order to beat another competitor who was unexpectedly faster than I thought he would be.”

Gonzales felt the best part of the weekend was his experience in the 200m IM eliminator, an event that mixes up the order of the strokes and pits the competitor against one another. After each 50m event, two swimmers are eliminated until only two swimmers remain in the pool to fight for the first place trophy and the prestige of beating everyone to the end.

This competition was the first long course, 50m pool length, Vancouver Island Regional event since 2019, as swimming pools and competition were shut down and cancelled due to COVID-19 and Pandemic restrictions. Stephen and Gonzales appreciated the experience in Saanich and were glad to be back to competition. Both swimmers are heading off to the next level of competition, Swim BC Divisional event in Chilliwack June 24-26, which will include swimmers from all over Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley.

In regards to Chilliwack, Stephen says “I am excited to race new competitors and push hard in every single race because each race is a chance to improve.”

To learn more about competitive swimming in the community, email ladysmithchemainusorcas@gmail.com.