Championship Season Fruitful for Local Swimmers

Surge swimmers at the Top Fish meet in Valley East (back row): Cree Chakasim, Lyla Watson, Anirudh Gupta (front row): Eva Robinson, Addison Brown, Oliver Brown, Liam Watson, Alex Bravener

The Sault Surge Aquatic Team has been in full swing since the school year started, and for many of the athletes, months of hard work came to fruition this month as they competed in Provincial Championships. Under the direction of their new head coach, Sarah MacDonald, the athletes were able to accomplish a number of their goals, from qualifying for Provincial and National events to earning best times or competing in their first race.

As a year-round sport, swimming requires a lot of dedication. Athletes can be in the water as much as 15 hours per week with dryland training on top of that – essentially a part-time job. It takes incredible focus and effort to swim as fast as possible with sound technique, but they do it because they love it, and it pays off when they compete.

Centre: Provincial Champion Olivia Starzomski with teammates Logan Belanger (l) and Paige Banton (r).

Sault Surge is home to two Ontario Provincial Champions: Olivia Starzomski in both 100 and 200 breaststroke, and Raili Kary in 200 backstroke. At the Etobicoke Olympium this past weekend, Starzomski and Kary blew their competition out of the water with their incredible swims. The two girls had just come home from a training camp in Florida with the Ontario Swim Academy and were tuned in throughout the swim meet.

In addition to their Provincial Champions, Sault Surge is proud of their development program. Kids as young as seven get to learn the ins and outs of competitive swimming from a team of highly knowledgeable, professional coaches. There is no better way to learn to swim than from former competitors, and all Sault Surge coaches have a long history in the pool. They not only lead practices at John Rhodes Community Centre daily, but they take their young athletes to competitions all over the North Eastern Ontario region.

Regional swim meets are a great opportunity for kids to make friends outside the community, swim alongside other teams, and learn valuable life skills like accountability and responsibility. Recently, Sault Surge swimmers got to compete in Elliot Lake and in Valley East for developmental meets that were designed to meet the needs of Ontario’s youngest swimmers, providing many with their first racing experience ever.

Cree Chakasim is one swimmer who has been on a roll lately at developmental meets. At 10 years old, Chakasim has been dutifully attending practices and competitions all season and has been consistently improving every time she gets in the water. At the Top Fish swim meet in Valley East, she swam three races she had never done before, and improved her times in two others, including a massive 47.89-second drop in her 100 Individual Medley!

Sault Surge is always taking on new members, and they even offer a free two-week trial to people who would like to give it a try. There are programs for ages 7+, including adults! Visit us at for more information.