Madison Hilgersom, 12, struck gold at the Swim BC AA Short Course Championships over the weekend in Surrey.
She won the 12-year-old 100 metre Backstroke in a time of 1:14.93.
“The win is impressive, especially after a difficult race in the 200m Individual Medley thirty minutes before,” said Orca head coach Delano Ducheck.
“This is Maddy’s first provincial meet, and I always knew she had the endurance but the question was would she have the front end speed.”
Hilgersom, a Grade 7 student at Summerland Middle School, had to come from behind a Fort St. John swimmer to win gold and also qualified for the AAA Championships, the highest level swimming competition in the province for her age.
Also representing Summerland were Dan Nixon, 14 and Brittany Parliament, 14.
Nixon qualified in three finals and just missed the podium by 0.2 seconds.
“Considering this is only Danny’s second year of competitive swimming, it is a great result.” Ducheck said.
“Danny is a natural competitor who still has a lot of room for improvement as he learns the technical details of the sport.”
Nixon had three top eight finishes, fourth in the 50 freestyle, tied for sixth in the 100 freestyle and sixth in the 100 butterfly.
Parliament, 14, made her return to the Orca club after spending two years on Vancouver Island. Because her birthday was the week before, she was forced to qualify in the older 14-year-old age category for this meet.
“In terms of best times, Brittany had an outstanding meet, taking off a combined 27 seconds over five races,” said Ducheck. “Any time you are improving your own personal best times, you are moving in the right direction.”
Since the Orca Swim Club is growing fast, Delano is setting their goals high for next year.
“We want to bring a dozen or more swimmers to this competition next year,” he said.
“We have many young and fiercely competitive swimmers coming up the ranks, so we are expecting a landslide of qualifiers for this meet over the next two years.”
This month is a busy month for ORCA with their fundraiser Swim-a-thon this weekend, Feb. 16 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. where swimmers will be completing a goal of 200 lengths or five kilometres in two hours.
Also that weekend, Orca swimmer Jamie Ferguson, 15, heads to Saskatoon for Western Championships, the age group swim meet that pits the best swimmers from British Columbia to Manitoba.
Two weeks later, Feb. 28 to March 3, Ferguson, Hilgersom and Haley Berrisford have all qualified for BC AAA Championships in Victoria.