Orcas post best times at recent swim meets

Members of the Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas Swim Club earned many personal best times at meets in late April.

The Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas tore their best times to pieces at recent swim meets in Comox and Saanich.

Nine Orcas returned home from the 10th annual Wavemaker Invitational at Saanich Commonwealth Place April 26-28 with a profusion of personal bests, coach Dusan Toth-Szabo said.

“I checked, and every single time for every single swimmer was a best time,” Toth-Szabo added.

On top of improving personal bests across the board, the club’s first long-course meet of the year saw eight of the club’s nine swimmers qualify for finals before three Orcas went on to score top-three finishes.

Eleven year olds Noah Herle and Aileen Humphreys scored double-digit improvements in a number of events, as did their teammates Shane Valic, 12, and Morgan McKenzie, 13. Morgan Humphreys, 14, scored the club’s biggest improvement in Saanich by amputating 106 seconds off of his personal best in 1500 Freestyle with a time of 21:45.87.

Fifteen-year-old Courtney Chanin joined the club in January, Toth-Szabo said, and swam her way to a VIR Championship qualifying time in 50 Free.

Faith Knelson, meanwhile, extended her reign as the Island’s fastest 11 year old. Knelson set seven Orcas’ club records while earning herself No. 1-ranked age-group times in Canada in 200 IM, 50 Breast and 100 Breast. Knelson now ranks second in the country in 50 Back and 50 Fly, third in Canada in 100 Free and 400 IM, and fifth in 200 Breast, Toth-Szabo added.

One week earlier, Toth-Szabo accompanied six of the club’s youngest swimmers to the “Spring Splash” in Comox April 21, a short-course developmental meet “mostly geared toward younger swimmers.”

A six-pack of Orcas aged eight to 12 swam to a total of 18 top-three finishes in Comox, earning an even greater number of best times in the process.

Coach Aisha Alsop was unable to attend the competition, but she was happy with her team’s performance in Comox.

“They came home and they were so proud of themselves,” Alsop added. “They had a great time. It was a nice, easy meet.”

Eight-year-old Grace Dice competed in her second meet ever, Alsop said, diving from the starting-blocks and racing in 50-metre events for her very first time.

“She had a blast,” Alsop said, as did 10-year-old Mackenna Mountain, who competed in the 100m Individual Medley for the first time.

“Mackenna was really nervous, so she and I practised for an hour and a half one day,” Alsop added with a laugh. “She went over those turns again and again to get them cemented in her head and once she [finished the race], she was, like, ‘Aw, that was easy.’”

The Orcas’ next competition is an all-events meet scheduled for May 11-12 in Saanich.