Three of the Sault’s top-performing swimmers made the journey to Calgary, AB last week to compete against the best in the country at Canadian Junior Championships. The trip was made possible by Sault Ste. Marie City Council, who approved the club for some funding to make the trip more financially feasible for our athletes. Qualifying for the competition was challenging, but the athletes discovered the most difficult part was dealing with the expectation of swimming fast in a different time zone at an altitude they weren’t used to.
“I felt like I was swimming pretty fast,” says Raili Kary, a backstroke specialist who competed in three events at the meet. “But the time on the scoreboard didn’t reflect that. It came down to focusing on strategy, technique, and effort.” Despite having to approach her races in a new way, Kary came away with two bronze medals; one in 100 backstroke, the other in 200 backstroke.
Teammates Ali Robertson and Paige Banton faced similar challenges, as did most other swimmers competing. Though none of Sault Surge’s swimmers achieved personal best times in their specialty events in Calgary, Banton came away with a 4-second drop in her 100 butterfly, a race she doesn’t swim often but got to compete as a bonus event.
“I feel pretty good about that,” she says. “And I’m confident that Senior Championships in Winnipeg next week will be even better.” Banton and Kary will be joined by Olivia Starzomski, a teammate currently training in Toronto, when they attend Canadian Swimming Championships (Senior Championships) in Winnipeg August 8th-11th. In the meantime, they will continue to train at the John Rhodes Community Centre in preparation for the event.