by Sarah MacDonald
Super Bowl weekend is always doubly special when you’re a swimmer in the North Eastern Ontario region, because it’s the same weekend we run our annual short course regionals, the Dave Kensit Memorial Championships. Instead of staying home, watching the game, and eating snacks, we converge upon John Rhodes to battle it out in the pool!
This year’s was an incredible championship for Sault Surge Aquatic Team! Times were improved, records shattered, qualifying times met, and memories made. For instance, Georgia Burns took a whopping 22.44 seconds off her 400 freestyle time, an event that saw the 10 year old swim 16 lengths of the pool non-stop. Our 10 and under girls’ relay team was incredible, earning gold in both their team’s events. Burns was joined by Brie Reid, Sheryl Young, and Sophia Li to bring home the hardware in both 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays! The 11/12 boys relay – consisting of Andrew Li, Ethan Haas, Oliver Brown, and Alexander Orazietti – also put on a show, taking home silver in both the free and medley relays.
Four Surge swimmers won the High Point trophies in their respective age categories: Ethan Haas for 11/12 boys, Kaelyn Albert for 13/14 girls, Cam Hutton for 13/14 boys, and Raili Kary for 15+ girls. Points were gained by ranking in the top three of each event: 5 points for first place, 3 for second, 1 for third. Cam Hutton also swept the club record board for 13/14 boys backstroke events, and Raili Kary did us all proud taking down two 11-year-old regional records previously held by Olympian Dominique Bouchard.
Regional Championships are just the start for our local swimmers; in swimming, there are several stages of championship. After Regionals, we look forward to Ontario Winter Festivals, which is a Provincial competition aimed at the 13 and under age category. This year, we’re proud to have three swimmers qualified for Festivals: Ethan Haas, a veteran of the event, as well as Andrew Li and Brie Reid, who both qualified for the first time at Regionals! These swimmers will travel to Windsor for a weekend of fast racing on the 22nd and 23rd of February – best of luck to them!
The next Provincial meet on our agenda is Ontario Youth-Junior Championships, which will take place in Markham March 5th-8th. Cam Hutton and Haley MacFarlane qualified for the meet back in December, but both added to their list of qualifying times at Regionals. Joining them in qualifying was Will Banton, who made cuts in 200, 400, and 1500 freestyle last weekend.
The final championship meet for the winter season will be Ontario Swimming Championships in Etobicoke March 5th-8th. Kaelyn Albert, Paige Banton, Logan Belanger, Raili Kary, Ali Robertson, and Olivia Starzomski will put on a show of their skills and speed in their specialty events, including each of the four competitive strokes: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. For the latter five swimmers, this event will also serve as a precursor to Canadian Olympic Trials being held in Toronto in early April.