’Rays make the provincial and national scenes

The Duncan Stingrays are on a break from swimming until September.

The Duncan Stingrays are on a break from swimming until September, and justifiably so, after the busy summer the team has had, including appearances at the AA and AAA provincial championships and the Canadian Age Group Championships in Quebec.

Five Stingrays were able to attend the Swim BC Long Course AA Championships in Kamloops at the end of June, with another six unable to attend due to graduations or other commitments. The five who did make it were among more than 400 competitors from across the province.

Dylan Kruger and Mary Paridaen vanVeen achieved personal bests in 100 per cent of their races in Kamloops, while the other three — James Ogihara-Kertz, Sophie Paridaen vanVeen and Montana Prystupa — had PBs in all but one of their events.

Prystupa finished in the top five in all of her races, winning one gold medal and two silvers. Mary Paridaen vanVeen was top six in all her races, with a pair of silvers, and Sophie Paridaen vanVeen made the top four in all her races and picked up a bronze medal. Ogihara-Kertz made the top 10 in each of his events and picked up a bronze, and Kruger had two top-eight results.

Mary Paridaen vanVeen also picked up AAA qualifying times in the 100m and 200m butterfly, which allowed her to compete in the AAA provincials in Victoria a week later. Mary was one of 12 Stingrays to attend the AAA meet, the largest team the Duncan club has ever sent to that level. More than 760 swimmers from 56 teams were in attendance.

Olin Dahlstrom, Natalia Garriock, Cailine Keirstead, Malia Prystupa, Desirae Ridenour, Brielle Woodruff and Robyn Zinkan achieved personal bests in all of their races. Paridaen vanVeen and Ty Dahlstrom were one race shy of the 100 per cent mark, Oliver Castle and Savanah VanNieuwkerk were two races shy, and Laura Kissack finished with two personal bests.

Olin Dahlstrom and Oliver Castle set new Stingrays records at the AAA meet. Dahlstrom’s record came in the 11/12 male long course 50m butterfly, where his mark of 34.00 seconds was 0.11 seconds faster than the mark set by Paralympian Brian Hill in 1995. Castle’s time of 33.97 seconds bested Cliff Smirl’s 1992 mark of 34.25 seconds in the 13/14 male long course 50m breaststroke.

Garriock made the top six in all of her races, with a fourth-place finish in the 100m fly, Malia Prystupa cracked the top 10 in all of her events, and Woodruff made the top nine in three races, including a fifth-place result in the 200m fly.

The AAA meet also resulted in two new Canadian Age Group qualifying times as Prystupa matched the 1:12.00 mark necessary for the 13-year-old girls 100m backstroke, and Castle’s time of 33.97 seconds surpassed the standard of 34.10 for the 50m breaststroke. Those were the second Canadian Age Group qualifying times for both swimmers. Three qualifying times are required to attend the meet.

Castle got his third qualifying time at the Nanaimo Riptides Time Trial on July 9, and joined Savanah VanNieuwkerk at the Canadian Age Group Championships in Quebec City on July 29 to Aug. 3, where they were among nearly 900 other swimmers.

VanNieuwkerk had personal bests in all of her events, while Castle had PBs in all but two of his.

Castle also set new Stingrays records in two events. His time of 2:44.36 set a new mark in the 13/14 male long course 200m breaststroke, beating Stephen Shumka’s 29-year-old record by 1.55 seconds, and his time of 5:14.29 beat his own record of 5:26.06, set this past June.

Both Stingrays climbed the national rankings in all of his races. VanNieuwkerk’s biggest jumps came in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, as she moved up 13 spots in both races to 14th and 17th, respetively. Castle’s biggest leap came in the 200m breaststroke, moving up three spots to 20th in Canada.