Ethan Haas, 11, was the only Sault Surge swimmer to qualify for Ontario Summer Festival Championships in June, but that didn’t stop him from having a positive team experience in Markham. Haas spent the weekend competing alongside other athletes from North Eastern Ontario as the region came together to compete as Team NEOR for the 13 & Under competition.
Under the NEOR banner, Haas swam to personal bests in 100 freestyle in a time of 1:12.18, 100 breaststroke in 1:31.52, 200 breaststroke in 3:15.75, and 400 Individual Medley in 6:32.76. He also got to be a part of three incredible relays with fellow NEOR swimmers Ryan Spencer (North Bay Tritons), Owen Baas (CT-33 Thunderbirds), and Ethan Young (Elliot Lake Aquatic Club). Together, the four boys shattered their relay entry times and impressed everyone by winning their heats. Additionally, Surge’s Ethan Haas swam an all-time best 50 breaststroke in the 200 Medley Relay with a time of 41.87.
Festivals were just the start of championship season for Sault Surge. Two weeks after Haas’ outstanding performance in Markham, six swimmers travelled to the Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough to compete at Ontario Swimming Championships (OSC). Paige Banton, Logan Belanger, Mikhaela Johnson, Raili Kary, Ali Robertson, and Olivia Starzomski arrived ready to compete, and they collectively had one of the most successful meets of the year.
At OSC, swimmers compete in the morning with the hope of finishing in the top 8 so they can swim the same event again in the evening at finals. The better your finishing position, the more points you receive for your team. At the end of the first day, all six Surge swimmers qualified for finals and earned enough points to put them in fourth place overall for women’s teams – a huge accomplishment for a small contingent of athletes at a big meet!
OSC was also a great meet for each swimmer individually. Banton and Kary each reached seasonal goals in their specialty events set back in September; Banton swam 2:38.78 in 200 breaststroke, earning her a bronze on the podium alongside teammate and Provincial Champion Starzomski, while Kary swam 200 backstroke in 2:15.73 for a silver medal. Additionally, Kary earned a bronze medal and new qualifying time for the upcoming Canadian Junior Championships (CJC) in Calgary, AB in the 100 freestyle with a time of 58.48, and she topped the podium for the title of Provincial Champion in 100 backstroke with a time of 1:03.21.
In short events, success is measured in hundredths of a second. In the 50 freestyle, Belanger and Robertson both impressed, each earning a spot in finals and swimming faster the second time around. Belanger managed to lower her personal best in both instances, shaving 0.14 seconds in the morning and an additional 0.16 in the evening for a new person best of 28.21. Robertson improved between morning and evening, moving up four spots in the rankings and swimming her third best lifetime 50. Johnson swam 100 butterfly twice, earning best times in the morning and the evening. In total, she dropped 1.01 seconds from her previous best time of 1:07.36, qualifying her for future provincial championships and edging closer to the CJC qualifying time in that event.
There are three meets remaining for Sault Surge swimmers: Canadian Junior Championships in Calgary, AB for Banton, Kary, and Robertson; TYR Summer Senior Championships is St. Petersburg, FL for Belanger; and Canadian Swimming Championships in Winnipeg, MB for Banton, Kary, and Starzomski. If you are interested in following the action, live streams of the Canadian Championships can be found through CBC Sports online, and you can follow us on Instagram @saultsurge. The 2019/2020 season starts in September, and the club will be hosting a Registration Day event on Wednesday, August 28th from 5-7pm in the John Rhodes Community Centre lobby. Anyone age 7+ is welcome to come in for an assessment to see if the club is a good fit!