The Duncan Stingrays qualified a club record 30 swimmers competing in the Vancouver Island Regional Championships at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre on Jan. 17-19, but the meet was as much about quality as quantity for the club.
Three swimmers – Olin Dahlstrom, Oliver Castle and Natalia Garriock – medalled in every one of their races, and two more – James Ogihara-Kertz and Laura Kissack – also collected medals. Seventeen more earned points for the team with at least one top 10 result.
"We are very pleased with the final performance times of our swimmers," head coach Leanne Sirup said. "For both our 10 and under swimmers, as this was their main focus, and for our senior swimmers, as we are in the midst of heavy training leading into the provincial championships and Western Canadian Championships."
The focus for the senior swimmers was achieving personal bests despite fatigue, a strategy that worked out well for the team, proving the seniors are on the right track. The Stingrays also put the swimmers who had already qualified for the provincial AAA meet on a limited schedule and might have otherwise had several more podium finishes.
"The Stingrays are growing, not just by size but by depth too," Sirup said. "It is exciting to watch the camaraderie grow amongst our swimmers. We may be an individual-type sport but our swimmers definitely evoke a team atmosphere which only benefits every member."
Dahlstrom finished with three gold medals, two silver and one bronze, while Castle and Garriock each collected two gold and two silver. Ogihara-Kertz picked up one bronze and one gold along with three other top-eight results, and Kissack earned a bronze and a fourth-place finish.
Other top-10 finishers were Desirae Ridenour (four top-10s); Jeremy Kissack (two top-fives); Haakon Koyote and Dylan Kruger (two top-sixes); Malia Prystupa (two top-sevens); Savanah Van-Nieukerk and Sabrina Willsey (two top-eights); Rosie Lee, Mary Paridaen van Veen, Montana
Prystupa and Chong Teng (two top-nines); Olivia Campbell, Jasmin Marston and Mya Smith (two top-10s); Megan Kruger (one topseven); Robyn Zinkan (one topeight); and Gavin Morrison (one top-nine).
The Stingrays also collected several strong relay results, including second-place finishes in the 13/14 male 4×50 freestyle and 4x50m medley, and 15 and over male 4×50 medley, and third in the 15 and over female 4×50 free.
Other highlights included new provincial AAA qualifying times for Cailine Keirstead, Olivia Campbell and Robyn Zinkan, and a new club record for Oliver Castle, whose time of 10:11.71 surpassed a 13-year-old mark in the 11/12 male 800m free.