Faith Knelson of the Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas Swim Club (seen here after a different meet last year) recently won three gold medals at the provincial championships.

Faith Knelson of the Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas Swim Club (seen here after a different meet last year) recently won three gold medals at the provincial championships.

Ladysmith swimmer Faith Knelson wins three golds at provincials

Knelson became the first female swimmer from Ladysmith to break the one-minute mark in the 100m freestyle.

Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas Swim Club’s Faith Knelson recently returned from the provincial championships with three gold medals.

The championships were held at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Kamloops between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, and Knelson also picked up numerous personal best swims over the course of the swim meet.

“The fact that she got three gold medals was not a big surprise as you kind of know [what you’re up against before you go] because of the rankings,” said coach Dusan Toth-Szabo. “What was really surprising, in a positive way, was that she had six best times out of seven events. Even the one she missed, the 200m individual medley in the final, was less than a second slower than her best time. That was pretty good.”

Knelson took gold in the 100m fly, 100m breast and 100m freestyle.

“Her time in the 100 free of 59.64 seconds was the first time ever a female swimmer in Ladysmith has broken a minute in that event, and we’re talking about senior swimmers as well,” said proud coach Toth-Szabo. “Also, the time she swam in the 100 breast (1:12.57) means she’s number 10 in Canada right now aged 15 and under for that event.”

At the provincials, Knelson, 12, competed in the 12- and 13 year-old category, a new category introduced this season by Swim BC.

“In most of the finals, she was the only 12-year-old in it, and she’s going to be 12 the entire season,” said the coach.

The pair’s attention now turns to the Western Canadian Championships in New Westminster in two weeks’ time.

Toth-Szabo admits that will be harder due to a 15-and-under age group that Knelson will compete in throughout, as well as being up against swimmers from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as B.C.

“The fact she was swimming with 13-year-olds [at the provincials] was good, as there was bigger competition for her. She’s quite a bit better than other 12-year-olds,” he said.

Knelson warmed up for the provincial championships two weeks prior with the Vancouver Island Regional Championships held at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre in Duncan.

Out of 17 swims in total that day, she won 13 of them.

Elsewhere, Aileen Humphreys took a whopping 56.46 seconds off her personal best time in the 800m freestyle event.

“In the 800, you can cut off more time than you can on the 50, but it’s still really impressive,” said Toth-Szabo.

Also at the Vancouver Island Regionals, Chantal Greenhalgh, Shane Valic and Brielle Woodruff achieved personal best times in the majority of their events, underlining another successful event for the team.