Canadian Masters Swimming Nationals
May 20th- 23rd, 2016 at the Etobicoke Olympium
Hello Calgary Masters,
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be sent as the coaching representative for our great team, CMSC. We were well represented by 5 of your team mates who all had some great performances over the weekend. Our team showed great focus, enthusiasm, and of course sportsmanship. This was a fantastic meet, not only performance wise, but the host team did an amazing job running the meet in a timely fashion as well as creating a hospitable, welcoming, and inclusive environment for swimmers of all levels and abilities.
Laurie Wallace, the only female representative from our team, did a fantastic job showing grit throughout the meet. Her toughness was not only seen in having to tolerate her all male team mates, but she has also been battling a shoulder injury in practice over the last couple of weeks and was of course still determined to attend the National level swim meet. Despite these set backs, Laurie persevered and competed in all of her events quite successfully. She placed 6th in her 100 Back, 50 Fly, and 100 Fly. Her 50 Backstroke was her best placing, where she finished 3rd in the sprint event!
Travis Wall had a massive weekend where he made significant improvements on nearly all of his season’s best times. It seemed as the weekend went on Travis pushed himself harder to learn from each race and to carry those experiences into his next challenge to improve. His 200 Back saw a 4 second drop from this season’s previous best, 100 Free came down by 2.4 seconds, 50 Back improved by over half a second at .65, his 100 I.M cut 2.3 seconds, and his 100 Back shed another 2.2 seconds. Also very impressive to note that he finished in the top 10 in his 200 Back, 50 Fly, 50 Back, 100 I.M, and 100 Back.
Daryn Hodgins has been working very hard in practice to improve his backstroke events. Making body position and his deep water catch a priority every time he swims on his back, this hard work really paid off this weekend as he made huge strides in both his 200 and 50 Backstroke events. Daryn kicked off his Friday session with 200 Back where he was out with the best technique I have ever seen out of him, his first 100 meter split was 1:12. The second half of the race required much more focus as fatigue set in, but still split quite well with a 1:18 and swam a season’s best by 13 seconds with a final time of 2:31.15 and placed 5th. Daryn’s 50 Back also saw a significant drop as he incorporated that front end speed from his 200 into the sprint event. His final time of 32.63 placed him 4th in a very tough field.
Brent Harvey is easily one of the most consistent and hard working early morning swimmers in the club. His work ethic, and commitment to improvement was easily recognized by his team mates and earned him the title “MVP” of the weekend. Brent placed top 5 in every single one of his events and made massive improvements on his season’s previous best times. Kicking off his weekend with 50 Fly, Brent set the tone for his weekend by dropping nearly a full second (.98) off of his previous time and finishing 4th with a 28.38. As his Butterfly events got longer and longer, Brent seemed to improve by larger margins. His 100 saw a 2.5 second drop, exceeding his expectations with a 1:03.12, and earned 3rd place in the event. His success was also seen in his 200 Fly where he improved by 9.6 seconds, finished 2nd, and at a final time of 2:22.8. These results were very hard earned and greatly deserved!
Jeff Welechuk has battled back all season after suffering from a dislocated elbow last year. It was certainly a highlight for me to see Jeff overcome the physical as well as mental barriers that come with the long process of healing. I believe that his performances at this national level competition certainly validate that he is back to fighting form as he placed in the top two in every single one of his seven events throughout the weekend. He took the top spot in the 50, 100, and 200 Backstroke, as well as his 200 Free. While he also placed first runner up in the 50, 100, and 400 Freestyle events. It is also impressive to note that his times in his 100 and 200 Backstrokes were National records for the 45-49 age group. He improved his best 200 Back time this season by over 5 seconds, splitting a 1:03.3 at the 100 and battling through the second hundred at 1:07.4. His final time was 2:10.84, bettering the previous record by just over a second. His 100 Backstroke was another major accomplishment on Monday morning at the meet, again improving substantially by 2.5 seconds on his season’s best splitting 29.2, 30.5 to finish with a final time of 59.75. This was an improvement on the national record again by over a second!
There were so many great swims over the weekend, not only from our club members but from swimmers across the country. It was absolutely a privilege to be able to attend this meet and help the athletes work towards their goals. I certainly found it inspiring to watch the improvements and changes that can be made by these adult-athletes throughout the weekend, and to watch them apply the training that we have spent the entire season working on to be put to the test. I hope that many reading this will also recognize the payoffs of their hard work and choose to put that preparation to the test given our next racing opportunity!