The swimming season for the Summerland Orca came to an exciting close last weekend as Payton Nackoney, 13, splashed her way to a bronze medal and an age group national qualifying time at the B.C. AAA Long Course swimming championships held in Victoria.
Nackoney did her best splash and dash in the 50 meter freestyle to land on the podium for the bronze in her age category.
Her time of 28.75 was a new club record and missed the Western National championship mark by a mere .01 seconds.
The following evening, Nackoney was seeded eighth going into the final of the 100 meter freestyle.
With a lane assignment on the outside of the pool (the fastest swimmers are assigned to the middle lanes), she was not expected to be a factor in the race. At the start, however, Nackoney blasted off the blocks and went stroke for stroke with the leaders.
At the finish, she had moved up to fourth place, a mere tenth of a second out of the medals. Her time qualified her for the Canadian Age Group National championships.
The first day of the meet had some mild disappointments as Nackoney was an alternate for the finals in both the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.
“We knew those events would be difficult to make finals and we were happy that she had moved up from the pre-meet rankings quite a bit. We knew her best events were coming up later in the meet,” said coach Tom Best.
“Just missing the Western National time was exciting because that’s the first time she has been in range of a senior level meet. She’s getting up there with the big girls now,” he said.
Nackoney set five club records on the weekend, two in the 50 freestyle, and one each in the 100 and 200 freestyle events and another in the 100 butterfly.
“I just wanted to do my best. I really love racing and I had worked hard on my racing skills like starts, turns and finishes,” she said.
Also participating in the meet was Daylon Tilitzky, 18.
While not qualifying for any final swims, Tilitzky swam to a new club record in the 1,500 freestyle as well as personal best performances in the 50 and 100 freestyle events.
B.C. hosts two AAA championships for swimmers throughout the year.
The short course season, usually until March, has races over the 25 meter pool distance while the long course season, which usually ends in August, features races over a 50 meter course.
All major international events such as Olympic and World Championships are held in the long course format.