Summerland Orcas competitive swim team posted top performances over three back-to-back weekend competitions this month.
Fifteen development swimmers raced to 14 top three performances at the Penticton Jamboree Jan. 13.
The regional swimmers swam to great heights at the Kelowna Snowfest Jan. 20-22 at the H20 Aquatic Centre.
The final opportunity to qualify for BC AA Championship in Chilliwack Feb. 10 to 12 or BC AAA Championships in Surrey March 1 to 4 was a Time Trial held on Jan. 28 in Penticton.
Orca now has three swimmers representing Summerland at the AA Provincial meet next month: Annmarie Lang-Hodge, Daniel Nixon and Madison Hilgersom while Haley Berrisford qualified for the higher standard AAA Championships in March.
Coaches Joanne Malar and Delano Ducheck reported they were thrilled with the team’s results after four solid months of training and team building.
“We knew our team was prepared to swim fast and to best times. Our swimmers have set their goals high, and are determined to make their AA and AAA cuts, said Malar.
“Watching them reach their goals this month and execute their race strategies was the highlight of the season so far.
“They weren’t just swimming to best times, they were making dramatic improvements in their times.”
At the Kelowna Snowfest meet, Annmarie Lang-Hodge, who was 12 at that time had a difficult task to accomplish.
She had to reach AA times for 13 year olds as she aged up right before the provincial championship.
Not only did she attain her higher standards for this meet, but she rose to three podium performances with bronzes in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley.
She dropped 3.5 seconds in the 100 breastroke, 33 seconds in the 200 breastroke and 12 seconds in the 200 IM.
Haley Berrisford, 11, who had already achieved her AA times had her sights set on the higher AAA times. Even being sick right up to two days before the meet could not prevent her from swimming to best times. She dropped 4.5 seconds off her 400 freestyle time.
She showed her versatility with a best 200 breastroke by 19 seconds. Her AAA standards will be on the chopping block at her next meet.
Daniel Nixon, 13, sprinted his way to his first AA standard, touching the wall 1.01 seconds under the qualifying time in the 50 freestyle.
Julia Belmonte, 14, Lauren Sawchuk and Isabella Havers, 13, all swam to lifetime best times and had great races in the finals.
Jacquelyn Belanger made her return to the competitive arena from over five years out of the races.
She fought back from injury to swim all best times, dropping a stunning 42 seconds off her 200 freestyle time.
Lewis Hugh Jones, 14, swam to three finals at the Kelowna Snowfest meet where he lowered his time in every event he swam.
Lewis was only 8/100th off the AA standard in the 50m freestyle.
“We are pumped to have three Summerland swimmers qualified for the BC AA Championships next month.
“We also have several other swimmers who are within tenths of a second from those standards.
“This shows that our team is on an upswing and we will continue to build our numbers who qualify for the provincial championships.
“We are building a strong group of younger competitive swimmers following in the regional swimmers footsteps.
“The majority of our team is development swimmers and they will be the wave of the future for our club.
“They are strong swimmers and excited to race. It will be a bright future for Summerland swimming,” said Malar.
With 14 top three performances at the Jamboree meet, there were many great swims.
Noah Russill, 7, swam to third place in the under 25 freestyle and 25 backstroke.
His older sister, Paige Russill 9, finished third in the 100 IM dropping over 13 seconds from her best time.
Twin brothers Connor and Holden Berrisford, 8, both stacked up on their best time ribbons.
Connor had three second place finishes (50 back, 100 IM, 50 breast) and one third (50 free), while Holden swam to three first place swims (50 free, 100 IM and 50 breast).
Chloe Collins, 12, debuting at her first swim meet won a silver in the 50 breastroke.
Jordyn Emshay, 7, placed second in the 25 fly and Alexandra Webb, 8, won the 50 breastroke and placed third in both the 50 free and 50 fly.
Hannah Mistal, 10, Kaila Sands, 7, Ryan Taylor, 9, Ben Geertz, 10, Keagan Ingram, 9, Tayla Ingram, 11, and Kyra Marsden, 11, all swam to best times.
On Saturday, Jan. 28, a final Time Trial meet was held in Penticton to allow one more chance for swimmers to qualify for the AA and AA Championships.
Haley Berrisford was focused and ready to achieve her goal of representing Summerland at the AAA Championships.
She chose to do long distance event of 800 freestyle (32 lengths of the pool).
She had to drop at least 28 seconds off her best time to qualify.
She swam a perfectly executed race to drop 32 seconds in a time of 11:12.04, over four seconds under the cut.
“Haley is such a tough trainer and all her hard work in practice translates into her race performances, said Malar.
“It‘s no surprise that when you mix the ingredients of a hard work ethic, determination and focus, results follow.
“I was quite emotional watching her performance and seeing her reach her goals on Saturday,” said Malar.