Ladysmith Orcas preparing for provincials

As they approach the season finish line, the Orcas continue to improve times and turn heads at Vancouver Island swim meets.

As they approach the season finish line in July, the Ladysmith Orcas are continuing to improve times and turn heads at Vancouver Island swim meets.

In just two seasons, the little club that could has almost doubled its numbers from 20 to approaching 40.

“Other people are noticing our little club,” said head coach Dusan Toth-Szabo.

During the 2012 ninth annual Wavemaker Invitational Meet April 27-29 in Victoria, eight club members competed, and five out of eight made finals in their age categories.

That included nine-year-old Chantal Greenhalgh, who made finals in 50 breast (bronze), 100 free, 50 back and 100 breast.

Darby Rae, 15, received a bronze in 100 free and swam finals in 50 fly, 50 free and 100 fly.

Alexander Trimble, competing in his second swim meet ever, got into the final heat on 50 breast and placed sixth.

Pamela Little, Kiley Ludlow and Morgan McKenzie did not make finals, but all swam 100 per cent best times during the preliminary races.

“What makes me happy is not that I have one swimmer who wins all the time, but I have more that are making finals, qualifying for certain levels and getting medals,” Toth-Szabo said. “It shows that there’s a good core and that there’s growth.”

Faith Knelson, 10, placed first in 200 IM, 50 breast, 100 free, 50 back, 100 breast and 50 fly.

Knelson also competed in the 2012 Island Long Course Invitational in Victoria May 11-13 and competed in the 12 and under category, bringing home second place in 200 breast and bronze in 100 breast.

Of note is the fact that Knelson shaved just over five seconds off her 100 breast time, putting her at No. 1 in Canada amongst swimmers in the age 10 category.

Toth-Szabo said he is pleased to see that no matter which stroke — backstroke, fly, free or breast — the Ladysmith Orcas are constantly improving their techniques at an even pace.

“I keep all of the strokes equally important, and that’s the way I train them and they really respond well,” Toth-Szabo said. “These kids are getting faster and faster.”

The Orcas’ next meet will be the Vancouver Island Regionals Long Course Championship in Nanaimo.

It will be a good challenge for the approximate eight swimmers going, who are used to practising in the short course pool at Frank Jameson Community Centre, Toth-Szabo said.