Twenty-five Williams Lake Blue Fins swimmers splashed to Prince George last weekend for their first Olympic-length long-course swim meet of the year.
Blue Fins head coach Chad Webb said, as expected, the team had some great performances.
“It was the younger ones that really churned up the pool, this time,” Webb said.
Austin Boehm and Guillaume Bayle posted solid times, as the long-course pool, Webb noted, didn’t seem to phase them despite it being their first out-of-town competition with the club.
Gracie Frost, Keanna Saunders and Leif Brandson once again showed the north the younger Blue Fins swimmers are a force to be reckoned with as they placed in the top four in almost every swim they competed in.
Saunders and Brandson both marched away with medals in the 200-metre freestyle and the 200-metre individual medley, while Gracie was narrowly kept out of the medals with two fourth-place finishes in both events.
The 10-and-under girls relay team, including Taylor Fitzgerald, Isabelle Knox, Frost and Saunders, destroyed the competition.
The girls finished 22 seconds ahead of second-place Prince George in the 200 medley relay and then proceeded to come from behind and pass Points North (a combination team of Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Terrace) in the last 50 metres of the free relay to steal another gold by beating them by 12 seconds. The team also came very close to setting a new club record in both of the relays.
“I thought the race might be close when we were down to the last swimmer and Keanna was four second behind,” Webb said. “I need not worry as she swam to a best time and blew by the competition dominating another relay. Even our ‘B’ team, which was fielded with younger and newer swimmers, managed a fifth-place swim in the medley relay.”
Webb added the Blue Fins’ second team consisted of Grace Turner, Brooklyn Carrier, Abby Webb and Gabrielle Knox.
“This really shows some great depth in our younger swimmers and future of our club with all eight girls in the thick of the competition,” he said.
Frost, meanwhile, swam her way to her first ‘AA’ time in the 50-metre freestyle and came close in a few other events. She now needs to qualify with one more ‘AA’ time in order to join the team in Victoria in June. Frost was named Blue Fins Swimmer of the Meet for her ‘AA’ swim, as well as taking off almost one minute of time in her individual events.
Webb noted Landon Christensen also swam a great meet, taking almost 40 seconds off in his individual events, along with helping the 11- and 12-year-old boys’ 200-metre relay team of Liam McCreight, Mitchell Ryan and Jonny Russell to a third-place finish.
Isabelle Knox had a breakthrough meet, finishing her weekend by qualifying for out of region swim meets through a strong performance in the 200-metre individual medley. She was also a factor in the girls’ 10 and under relay performance.
The 15 and over girls relay team also proved competitive by placing second in the 200-metre medley relay with Kelsey Blokland, Coral Choi, Asheley Beauchamp and Danika Robson. Kara Zavitz took over from Blokland in the 200-metre freestyle relay and also placed second — the highest the senior girls have finished at the Prince George meet in relay events.
“There were many great performances this weekend,” Webb said. “Quite a few swimmers had nasty colds and swam hard in every event. Relay team members all raised their levels of performance to finish off ahead of previous years’ performances.”
For top three individual finishes check the Scoreboard on Page B2.