Eight Summerland swimmers aged 12 and under participated in the Swim BC Prospects Camp in Kamloops on Feb. 1.
The eight swimmers, all members of the Summerland Orca Swim Club, qualified by being in the top 20 in their age group for the 200 Individual Medley (50 meters of each of the four competitive strokes).
All eight athletes are in Grades 5 through 7.
The athletes selected were: Mackenzie Bird, Mateo Ducheck, Desmond Ducheck, Kyah De Mitri, Peter Kunka, Payton Mitchell, Taryn Weatherhead and Gordon Widdis.
“The 200 I.M. is usually used as a qualifier for age group swimmers,” said coach Delano Ducheck, “because it demonstrates all four strokes and seven turns, which are critical development markers for young swimmers.”
The Summerland swimmers joined 32 other Okanagan valley swimmers from Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, and Vernon.
Although Summerland has the smallest club population of the region, Orca was able to field the third largest team at the camp.
“Once or twice a year, we like to bring all the top 12 and under athletes and their coaches to a central training facility and expose them to different ideas and get them dreaming about the possibilities in the sport of swimming.” Ducheck said
The six-hour day camp included two 1.5-hour swim sessions as well as guest speaker Greg Stewart, world para-silver medalist.
“We usually have an accomplished Olympic swimmer speak at these prospect camps,” Ducheck said, “but it was very interesting to have a track and field para athlete recount his journey and talk about the hardships of only having one arm and competing on the world stage. It was very powerful.”
The eight Summerland swimmers will now travel to Vancouver for the Age Group Provincials, Feb. 21 to 23, bringing the fastest 13 and under swimmers from across the province for the championship meet.
With Swim BC funding in decline, the Orca Swim Club board has covered the registration costs for all eight swimmers.
The swim club has a few upcoming fundraiser events including a five-kilometre Swim-a-thon on April 25, an I-Can-Swim Jamboree on May 3 and the return of the Summerland Sprint Triathlon and Kids of Steel race on Sept. 6.
To help the team with a sponsorship or donation, If please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.