Members of the Duncan Stingrays senior group, from left: Anna Fairweather, Kate Schultz, Evan Hales, Kailie MacGregor and Malcolm Blackburn. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Members of the Duncan Stingrays senior group, from left: Anna Fairweather, Kate Schultz, Evan Hales, Kailie MacGregor and Malcolm Blackburn. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Bennett Cup a test of training for Duncan Stingrays

Eight swimmers compete among the best from Island and Mainland

Eight members of the Duncan Stingrays took to the pool against competition from across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland at the Bennett Cup hosted by the Island Swimming Club at Saanich Commonwealth Place last weekend.

The Bennett Cup was the first meet in 20 months with both preliminaries and finals, and drew more than 250 swimmers.

While the Stingrays were focused on testing their own training, there was a lot to be excited about in terms of results as well, according to head coach Leanne Sirup.

“We have been working very hard on creating the habits that make us a faster swimmer and this competition was the testing ground that illustrated exactly what we have been doing in training — illustration of the good and the not so good,” she said. “The swimmers all took mental notes on where their next focus for training will be but certainly should be proud on how well they’d performed amongst the stiff competition.

“This competition was a great experience for all of our swimmers to be back and racing older and faster swimmers; it’s what drives our improvement. We were fortunate to race alongside UVic’s varsity team of over 50 swimmers and learning from their example.”

Malcolm Blackburn set six personal bests over his seven races, and made five 13/14 male finals, placing third in the 50m butterfly and sixth in the 200m breaststroke.

Wyland Dumont set personal bests in all six of his races and placed third in the 11/12 male 400m freestyle and seventh in the 50m butterfly.

Anna Fairweather had personal bests in three of her seven races, reaching three 13/14 female finals and placing seventh in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and 400m free.

Gabe Gerbrandt set personal bests in four of six races, reaching finals in the 13/14 male 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley.

Evan Hales had personal bests in all seven of his 13/14 male races, and had the best time drop with a cumulative improvement of one minute and 41.76 seconds for an average improvement of more than 14 seconds per race.

Kailie MacGregor also had personal bests in seven of seven races, making six 13/14 female finals and placing third in the 50m breaststroke and fourth in the 200m backstroke. MacGregor’s 200m backstroke performance has her less than three per cent away from qualifying for the Western Canadian Championships.

Brody McCartney was yet another with seven personal bests in seven races, making seven 13/14 male finals and placing fourth in the 50m and 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley.

Matthew Ruiter set personal bests in two of three races and made two 13/14 male finals, finishing eighth in the 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke.

Another three Stingrays — Teddy James, Lauchlin MacGregor and Angus Preston — were set to attend as well, but all 11 and under swimmers were removed from the competition just prior to the first day due to the facility’s updated requirements.

Swimming