The Ladysmith Orcas continue to make and break records as the season progresses.
During three swim meets held in December, seasoned members of the local swim club were improving personal bests while first-time competitors put themselves comfortably on the scoreboards.
“That’s what makes me happy; that the little ones are not only coming out for swimming, but they’re actually doing really good. They’ve got medals, they’ve got top places and they’ve got best times,” said coach Dusan Toth-Szabo. “They are working hard.”
During the Winter Break swim meet between Ladysmith and Duncan, eight-year-old Ethan Alsop, in his first meet, placed first in three out of four of his events: 25 back, 25 free and 25 breast, and he was second in the 25 fly.
Ladysmith was represented by 21 Orcas swim club members.
“It was a smaller meet, but it was really good to finish the year with,” Toth-Szabo said.
During that same meet, Conrad Carlson, 15, who is approaching AAA provincials, placed first in the 100 breast, 50 free, 100 free and 200 free. Also taking first in their respective categories were Maria Jones, 8, Faith Knelson, 10, and Darby Rae, 14.
Knelson is five seconds away from qualifying for a national time in the 100 breaststroke and uses that motivation to drive her when she competes.
Knelson joined the Orcas after getting the inspiration in the bathtub. She had just come home from a freezing cold baseball game that her brother had played in.
“I sat in the tub and said I want a big trophy in my room,” she recalled. “When I started, I could practically make it across the pool.”
The 10-year-old is hoping to one day earn university scholarships by keeping up her training. The focus involved with the sport has already helped improve her scores in school, she said.
At 0.08 seconds off her national time in the 50m free, Rae is hoping she’ll qualify for nationals in Calgary. She currently sits at No. 10 in the province in that category.
“It’s a hard event to get into,” she said.
Like her co-swimmers, Rae is passionate about the sport and sees a future for herself in it.
“I enjoy it for fitness, and I’ve been told I’m good at it.”
Five members of the Orcas will make an appearance this weekend at a high-level meet, the Vancouver Island region short course championship in Nanaimo.
There are still 10 spots left for any young swimmers who want to get in on the season, which ends in July.