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Young Duncan Stingrays dive into competition

First meet of the year for club’s youngest swimmers
Duncan Stingrays swimmer Teddy James competes in the 50m butterfly during the club’s Orange & Black meet at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre on Dec. 1. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

The youngest members of the Duncan Stingrays swim team took to the pool on Dec. 1 for their first racing opportunity of the season: the club’s first Orange & Black meet of 2021-22.

It was the first competition ever for many of the 57 Stingrays who raced. Another 35 older members of the club served as officials for the meet and as assistant coaches to the junior staff.

“It was a great day of learning and racing and simply having a whole lot of fun,” Stingrays head coach Leanne Sirup said.

The meet led to four new Vancouver Island championships qualifiers: Teagan Dunaway and Kayla Lemon in the 10 and under category, Alexander Nikitas in the 11/12 category, and Christopher Nikitas in the 13/14 category.

“The team is very excited about our future,” Sirup added. “We’ve got many young ones who started the sport of swimming just a short three months ago and are making huge progress in their skills and speed. Credits to the swimmers for doing their best on a daily basis and being brave enough to try new skills. This courage and determination is what we strive for on a daily basis and we are very proud of our young ones.”

Sirup also gave kudos to FUNdamentals coaches Koen Hales, Kiana Navas-Perla and Mary Paridaen van Veen, who she said are also very driven and dedicated in their work with the youngest swimmers.

The Stingrays will be in action again this weekend as they host their annual Winter Break Invitational at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre on Saturday and Sunday.