Swimmers from the host club did not disappoint at the Duncan Stingrays’ annual Winter Break Invitational held at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre last weekend.
The Stingrays had 30 competitors in the meet, out of nearly 200 between the ages of six and 17 who attended from all over Vancouver Island, and many of them achieved multiple personal bests, Vancouver Island Regional Championships qualifying times, and top-three finishes.
Ten swimmers from the Duncan club achieved personal bests in 100 per cent of their races:
• Sophia Atashband (two new races, two thirds)
• Harrison Blatchford-Duncan (one first and one second in his first-ever sanctioned competition)
• Kieran Dunaway, (one first and two thirds in his first sanctioned competition)
• Sam Gerbrandt (first-ever VIR QT in the 200m breaststroke, one second)
• Evan Hales (one first, two thirds)
• Clara Lake (one new race)
• Kayla Lemon (one first)
• Lauchlin MacGregor (one first, four seconds, one third)
• Christopher Nikitas (one new race, first-ever VIR QT in the 50m freestyle, one first, one third)
• Angus Preston (two seconds, two thirds)
Another dozen Stingrays came one race short of 100 per cent personal bests:
• Malcolm Blackburn (one first, three seconds, one third)
• Teagan Dunaway (first-ever VIR QT in the 100m freestyle)
• Yelaina Frano (one new race)
• Gabe Gerbrandt (one new race, one second, one third)
• Ayla Graham (six firsts)
• Delphine Koyote (two new races)
• Nina Lempinen (two new races, two thirds)
• Olivia Matthews (one new race, one second, one third)
• Alex Nikitas (VIR QT in the 100m backstroke, four thirds in his first sanctioned competition)
• Matthew Ruiter (one second, two thirds)
• Ava Sandell (one new race)
• Josh Vanderputten (one new race, one first, one third)
Other Stingrays in the meet:
• Wyland Dumont (three personal bests, two seconds, one third)
• Anna Fairweather (one personal best, two firsts, three seconds, one third)
• Oliver Kenyon (one personal best in his first sanctioned competition)
• Ethan Lempinen (one personal best, one second)
• Kailie MacGregor (three personal bests, two firsts, three seconds)
• Waylin MacGregor (three personal bests, three firsts, one second, one third)
• Brody McCartney (two firsts, four seconds)
• Kate Schultz (two personal bests, two thirds)
The Stingrays continued their tradition of every heat winner receiving a rubber duck or squirtie toy, and started a new raffle for all swimmers who recorded a personal best, with prizes handed out throughout the competition.
Stingrays head coach Leanne Sirup expressed her gratitude to the volunteer group, particularly outgoing meet manager Joey Dahlstrom, who mentored incoming meet managers Trish O’Halloran and Pierre Graham, and officials coordinator Lisa Helmer Preston.
“It takes a whole lot of planning with numerous volunteers to run a competition of this size, especially with the additional considerations à la COVID.”
Sirup also thanked the Cowichan Aquatic Centre staff for their support, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District for its Sport Event Grant.
The Stingrays will keep swimming this weekend, with eight heading to the Richmond FastSwim Classic and three off to the Nanaimo Riptides’ Ugly Sweater Invitational.