The Summerland Orca swim team earned 18 top-three finishes at their first competition of the season last weekend. It was also the first swim meet held at the new Penticton Community Pool.
The fabulous new 10-lane 25m pool was enjoyed by clubs from the Lower Mainland through to the Shuswap and Nelson. There was both a one-day development jamboree meet for younger swimmers and a three-day meet for more senior swimmers.
Summerland swam away with nine gold, seven silver and two bronze medals.
It was the first meet with three-time Olympic swimmer, Joanne Malar as Summerland’s head coach. “Our swimmers had a very successful meet. They got in there, raced hard and all swimmers had huge drops in their best times. We have been working on their technique which is so important to have correct at a young age,” she said.
It was the first swimming competition for several of the Orca’s development swimmers.
With so much excitement on the pool deck, they remained focused and had fun performing in front of a full audience.
Josh Webb, 11 and Heming Sola, eight were triple threats. Both won three gold medals in their age categories.
Sola won the 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle and the 100 individual medley (IM.) Webb won the 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle and 200 IM. Webb’s time in the 200 IM qualified him to swim in regional meets.
His sister Alexandra Webb, eight, won the 50 breaststroke for eight and under.
Olivia St. Hilaire, 10 won the 50 breaststroke for nine- to 10-year-olds.
Identical twins Holden and Connor Berrisford, eight each stacked up top performances. Holden placed second in both the 50 breaststroke and 50 backstroke while his brother Connor, won the 50 backstroke and placed third in the 50 breaststroke.
Dawson Doherty, 13 swam to four second place finishes in the 100 IM, 50 backstroke, 50 freestyle and 50 breaststroke.
Luc Benoit, 11 dropped 14 seconds off his best time to earn second place in his division in the 100 IM. Chloe Harrold, 11 placed third in her 50 breaststroke and her 200 IM time qualified her for regional competitions.
In total, there were 19 development swimmers competing, and all 19 earned personal bests, and many dropped over 20 seconds off their previous times.
In the regional meet, KISU Iron Sprint, veteran ORCA swimmers Annmarie Lang-Hodge 12, Lauren Sawchuk 12, Emma Russill 11 and Julia Belmonte 13 took to the starting block for the girls. Lewis Hugh Jones 14, Daniel Nixon 12, Caylum Foley 15 and Corwin Shanner 15 represented our male squad. Each of the senior swimmers posted personal bests and earned points for the ORCA team.
Coaches Malar and Delano Ducheck were excited about the team’s performance.
“Our swimmers gave us so much to be proud of. There was great team spirit, team support and they all were swimming fast and with proper technique. They were dropping time off their personal bests by leaps and bounds. We are looking forward to many more great team swim meets.” Malar said. “The swimmers had so much fun racing and we’re looking forward to our upcoming meets where even more swimmers will be competing with this great team.”