The Duncan Stingrays Swim Team took 21 swimmers to Nanaimo at the end of January for the Vancouver Island Regional Short Course Championships, hosted by the Riptides Swim Team.
The Stingrays’ challenge group, made up of swimmers aged 10 to 13 years old had a fantastic meet according to their coach.
“A big focus for all our swimmers during this competition was creating strategies for each race and learning how they can improve for the future,” said lead coach Sophie Paridaen van Veen.
Paridaen van Veen said one swimmer that took big steps forward during the meet was 10-year-old Teagan Dunaway, who was the highest overall female points achiever in her grouping, with 138. Dunaway came away from the meet with two gold medals, and four personal bests, in addition to some team hardware.
“Achieving gold in her 100m breaststroke for all the 10-and-unders was a big win,” Paridaen van Veen said. Dunaway also won gold in the 50m breaststroke, but that’s not all the medals she took home.
“She also anchored in the 200m freestyle relay and 200m medley relay where both relay teams secured second overall,” added Paridaen van Veen.
At nine years old, Kieran Dunaway was the Duncan Swim Team’s youngest competitor, and fared well with two personal bests (PBs) out of four events raced.
Nina Lempinen, 10, had six PBs in six races and Waylin MacGregor, 10, had eight PBs in eight races with Lempinen winning a silver and two bronze medals in her best races and MacGregor taking a gold, a silver, and two bronze in four of his races. MacGregor was the leading male point achiever with 149.
Two medals were earned by 10-year-old Chelsea Ruiter, who had five PBs in seven races. Nella Stiwich, 10, took a bronze medal home and had six PBs in seven races.
Overall, the Duncan Swim Team won the Team Trophy for Medium Size Teams (15-30 swimmers).
Duncan’s 12 year olds also fared well in the meet with Ayla Graham and Angus Preston achieving eight PBs apiece.
Lauchlin MacGregor, 12, was the highest point achiever in his group with 155, and had an amazing meet, winning two golds, and two bronzes en route to breaking a 41-year-old team record when he swam the 1500m freestyle event in 18:53:21. That time surpassed the former record of 18:57:40 held by Kurt Vollmerhause since 1982.
“Suffice it to say, this new bar that was set by Lauchlin just may be around for a while, judging by how long it has lasted,” noted head coach Leanne Sirup.
Sirup noted there are only three records left that date back to 1980 and they all belong to brothers Kurt and Lach Vollmerhause. Everything else has been broken.
Also broken at the event was the record for male 13/14-year-old butterfly. Gabe Gerbrandt, 14, swam to a 2:22:10 to beat the old record of 2:24:22 set by Olin Dahlstrom in 2018.
Gerbrandt went on to set yet another team record with Wyland Dumont, Brody McCartney and Matthew Ruiter in the 4×100 freestyle relay. The racers swam to a time of 4:16:78 to beat the former record of 4:26:33 that had stood since 2014.
The four then went on to set a club record in the 4×100 medley relay with a 4:51:42 time that crushed the 2014 record of 5:09:83.
Each of the relay members also accumulated many PBs and a host of other medals as well.
Another standout for Duncan was Kailie MacGregor, 14, who was not only the top point achiever in her group with 200 points, but had six PBs in six races and medalled in every race. She took home two golds, two silvers and two bronze medals for her efforts.
Sam Gerbrandt, 13, swam in nine races and had PBs in eight, racing best in the 100m breaststroke and 100m fly.
The female 15-and-over relay team of MacGregor, Eva Chadt, Ryca Stiwich, and McKinley Thomas-Perry won bronze in the 4x50m freestyle relay and the 4x100m freestyle relay adding to the team’s medal count.
Chadt earned a silver medal and six PBs in seven races while Stiwich had three PBs as well.
Also with three PBs, Thomas-Perry picked up gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke events, too.
And finally, Malcolm Blackburn earned four PBs in four races and Ot Castells swam to five PBs in six races.
Thomas-Perry and Castells were highest overall point achievers in their groupings, with 140 and 50 points respectively.