As they get ready for the AAA Provincials next month, Ladysmith-Chemainus Swim Club members Faith Knelson and Aileen Humphreys are hoping to keep up the momentum after strong performances at the regionals.
At the Vancouver Island Regional Short Course Championships Jan. 23-25 at Saanich Commonwealth Place, Knelson and Humphreys, who are both 13, had many strong swims.
Knelson had new personal best times in almost all her swims and won five medals. She took 11.13 seconds off her time in the 400m individual medley to finish first with a time of 5:14.25. She also won the 200m breaststroke after improving her time by 5.40 seconds and finishing in 2:34.74. In the 200m freestyle, Knelson finished first with a time of 2:11.42, taking 1.34 off her previous best time. Knelson also won the 200m backstroke, improving her time by 5.96 to finish in 2:29.59.
As well, Knelson finished second in the 100m freestyle with a time of 59.15, and she improved her time in the 400m freestyle by 12.79 seconds on her way to a sixth-place finish in that event.
“We kind of trained right through it and didn’t taper,” said Knelson. “Our practices lately were pretty harsh, so these were paying off. I had personal bests in everything, and Aileen swam well too. I think it was a pretty good meet. I really enjoyed seeing myself excel in the 200m breaststroke — it’s one of my biggest accomplishments in 2015, taking six seconds off.”
At the meet, Humphreys finished second in the 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:19.24 and was also second in the 50m breaststroke, finishing in 36.65.
Humphreys took third place in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:49.86, and she finished eighth in the 400m individual medley with a time of 5:37.28. She also reached the finals in the 50m butterfly, 200m individual medley and 50m backstroke, finishing 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively.
“I though it was a very exciting, very fun meet,” said Humphreys. “I saw a lot of old friends. I fixed my dive and pullout in breaststroke, which my coach was worried about.”
Earlier in January, Knelson was selected to take part in a three-day SwimBC prospects camp in Vancouver.
The top age-group swimmers in B.C. were selected based on their previous results, explained Toth-Szabo.
At the SwimBC Senior Circuit Jan. 17 at the UBC Aquatic Centre in Vancouver, swimming against swimmers of all ages, Knelson won the 100m breaststroke in 1:14.59 and was first in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 34.22. She also finished seventh in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:48.12 and was 28th in the 50m freestyle after finishing in 34.54.
During the camp, Knelson and the other swimmers did test sets, and race analysis was done to examine how they swam, their techniques and how they prepared.
Knelson says she really likes the team she’s on, the Team BC junior team, and she thought the camp was hard but really good.
“I took a lot of knowledge from it,” she said. “There were things I had to critique in my swimming that I think helped me a lot. I enjoyed the camp; it was fun.”
Humphreys and Knelson will both compete at the AAA Provincials in Surrey at the beginning of March.
Humphreys says her goals for the near future are to finish first in a breaststroke event and improve her dives and turns.
Knelson says she needs to work on her turns as well.
“I’d like to see myself go under 1:10 in 100m breaststroke — that would be a very big accomplishment,” she said.
After the provincials, Knelson will compete at the Canadian Trials April 1-4 in Toronto.
“It’s pretty close for breaststroke to make the national junior team,” she said. “My goal is to make finals at the Canadian Trials, and I’d be more than ecstatic if I made the Canadian junior national team.”