Impressive start to winter for Duncan Stingrays

The Duncan Stingrays Swim Team plunged into December with two meets in the first week of the month.

The club had 62 swimmers in action on Dec. 3 for the DST Orange Black meet.

"For the DST Orange Black we were focusing on the developmental level of our program and created this racing opportunity specifically for our I Can Swim program members," head coach Leanne Sirup explained.

Twenty-six swimmers were competing for the first time: Isabella Anderton-Teasdale, Iain Anderton-Teasdale, Lauren Baker, Parker Bertrand, Elle Blandin, Sophie De Pol, Caleb Fraser, Jacob Fraser, Zoe Johnson, Wish Keirstead, Isis Koyote, Thoran Koyote, Amiya Lacasse, Evan Maher, Eamon Manley, Alexa Martel, Liam Masur, Andrew McDevitt, Grace Meiner, Luke Prest, Alexander Rockson, Zachary Rockson, Abigail Smith, Ryca Stiwich, Jilliana Waller, and Brianna Wilson.

Others who are continuing to work their way through the nationally recognized I Can Swim program and are continuing to gain experience in racing include Kaylee Adair, Camryn Beck, James Bryant, Finn Dahlstrom, Calem Lander, Ziad Lossing, Ava Morgan, and Kaleena Smith.

On Dec. 6, the Stingrays invited swimmers from the Port Alberni Tsunami, Nanaimo

Riptides and Ladysmith/Chemainus Orcas to join them for the Winter Break Invitational.

Of the 33 Stingrays who competed, 16 achieved 100 per cent personal bests: Mathias Bell, Sofie Bloss, Hallie Bryant, Oliver Castle, Cailine Keirstead, Jeremy Kissack, Jasmine Kremer, Dylan Kruger, Tiegan McDevitt, Desirae Ridenour, Katelyn Seery, Cody Shewchuk, Ava Smith, Mya Smith, Savanah Van-Nieuwkerk and Brielle Woodruff.

Five more – Mila Ellis, Laura Kissack, Montana Prystupa, Tess VanNieuwkerk and Robyn Zinkan – earned PBs in all but one of their races, and another eight – Jotei Browne, Jessica Castle, Lily Cochrane, Emma Hender, Chelsea Langelo, Rahma Lossing, Gavin Morrison and Randi Robertson – achieved the feat in all but two of their events.

The club also had three new qualifiers for the Vancouver Island championships: Bell in the 50m breaststroke, Ellis in the 100m and 50m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, and 100m freestyle, and Lossing in the 100m breaststroke. Mya Smith also qualified for the regional 10 and under AAA championships in the 50m backstroke and 50m and 400m freestyle.

Langelo, Ridenour and Zinkan set new provincial qualifying times, while McDevitt collected a national Paralympic qualifying time. Oliver Castle broke his own Stingrays team record in the 100m individual medley, set just three days earlier.