Dinosaur Stomp in Cowtown!

13 AMAC swimmers aged 6 to 10 convened at the University of Calgary pool for the annual Dino Cup swim meet hosted by UCSC. This is the swim meet that many young swimmers wait the entire season for and with good reason. With bell prizes, heat winner ribbons, Dino-o-mite swim ribbons, random draws for cool toys, and age discreet categories, every swimmer is a winner!

For those who haven’t experienced Dino Cup, it’s a sea of kids on the pool deck (over 450 in attendance) and races happen in 2 pools. Thankfully, AMAC parents Derek Mastel and Randy Valk were on deck throughout the meet to help with marshaling. Not a single race was missed and that’s quite a feat!  

The “just the facts” are that AMAC swimmers had 33 new best times (59% BT average) and took off a total of 211.83 seconds. Most of the swimmers tried new events for a total of 23 brand new times. Our best times leaders include Berlin Mastel (7/7), Synaia Kuehn (4/4), Brandt Swaren (6/7),  Samantha Dunphy (6/7), Cassidy Hayward (6/7) and Aaron Kruger (6/7).

The Dino Stomping highlights include:

Madisson Cobb – In looking back at Maddie’s last 200m race, I see that she had taken 12 seconds off just a month ago and here we go again as she took another 3.69 seconds off. Wow! Add to that the nearly 9 seconds improvement in the 200IM and I think it’s safe to say that Madisson likes those middle distance swims.

Samantha Dunphy –  Samantha stretched out at this meet and tried new distances she hadn’t done before including the 100m freestyle and 100m breaststroke. Her best swim of the meet was the 50m breaststroke where she took off 6.58 seconds and was just out-touched for heat winner.

Cassidy Hayward – When Cassidy exited the pool from her first ever 100m freestyle race, she told the coach “never again!” She followed that race up with the 100IM where she took off an amazing 25.57 seconds. Somehow I don’t think that Cassidy will mind so much the 100m distances anymore. And perhaps the backstroke is a new favorite as Cassidy took off 11 seconds in her 50m race.

Aaron Kruger – What fun Aaron is to have on deck! He dutifully came to report his heat placings after each race and then recapped all his races at the end of the meet. It was a very good meet for Aaron as he took off nearly 5 seconds in his 100IM and is a mere 1.25 seconds away from his MQT (meet qualifying time). Aaron placed second in 2 of his new events and rounded out the top eight with a 6th and 7th place finish in his 50m free & 100IM.

Synaia Kuehn – This was Synaia’s first ever swim meet! Synaia attended Dino Cup on Saturday and had 4 swims. As you can imagine being a newbie on deck, the nerves were present in learning about marshaling, checking in with timers, and all those other little details about swim meets. Synaia did great and even stretched out in a 100m freestyle and 100IM. Great job from our newest racer!

Albany Mastel – One of our youngest swimmers, Albany showed that she’s ready to race. She had 2 third place finishes and a fourth place finish. Her two top swims were in the 100m free taking a whopping 29.63 seconds off and in the 25m breaststroke where she took off 17.08 seconds.

Berlin Mastel – Not only did Berlin have 100% best times but she won every event she raced.  Berlin took several bell heats for cool prizes and is the top aggregate winner for 8 year old girls.  Just a sampling of her best times shows a 12.89 second drop in the 200IM and a 3.24 second drop in the 50m free to come tantalizingly close to breaking the 40 second mark.

Nick Samuelson – What a dynamo! Nick came well prepared to both race and relax and looked like an old pro on deck. He placed 3rd in the 25m backstroke and 7th in the 100m fly. Nick had 4 best times and took off 2.15 seconds in his 100 back and 3.96 seconds in his 200m free. That last race was brilliant as Nick left nothing in the pool. The 200m free was a great way to finish off Dino Cup.

Ashton Scholly – Always polite, always ready to race, and always fun to have on deck – that’s Ashton! Ashton’s best races were in the 50m breaststroke where he took off 2.59 seconds and in the 50m backstroke with a 2.95 second drop in time. With every race, you could see that he has that competitive drive to win. Ashton placed second in the 50m free and had 3 fifth place finishes in the 50m fly, 100IM, and 50m backstroke.

Brandt Swaren – Brandt is a very determined swimmer and it showed throughout his races.  There were several notable improvements in time and probably the best were in his 200m free (6.15 second drop) and his 100m freestyle (5.20 second drop) bringing him ever closer to that ‘A’ time. Brandt placed second in the 25m freestyle and 25m backstroke, third in the 200IM, fourth in the 100m fly, sixth in the 50m breaststroke, and seventh in the 200m freestyle.

Elliot Valk – Our other 6 year old, Elliot had a fabulous meet taking off 9.88 seconds in his 100m freestyle race. He also tried 2 new events in the 25m freestyle and 25m butterfly. Elliot’s butterfly race was fun to watch as you could see the competitive spirit in him when he realized that the other swimmer in the pool was slightly ahead. Elliot really picked up the stroke rate then and swam with all his heart. What a great race!

Norah Valk – Cool and calm best describe Norah before, during and after her races and there were many successes for her in the pool. Norah tried the 100m breaststroke which is a stroke she doesn’t much care for but she raced it well and put in a very good time placing 11th. That’s a very good result for a first time swim. Add to that a best time in the 50m breaststroke and maybe we’ll see more breaststroke races in Norah’s future.

Delrae Vetter – What a great swim meet Delrae had in Calgary! She tried 3 new events and had 2 best times in her other events. Delrae placed first in the 100m freestyle and the 25m freestyle, second in the 100m breaststroke and 50m backstroke, fourth in the 50m breaststroke and 25m butterfly. All those top placings gave Delrae enough points to take second place aggregate girls aged 8 right behind her teammate Berlin.

So another Dino Cup has come and gone. The UCSC team did a great job hosting the meet this year and we look forward to next season. Perhaps next season is when we overtake a big Calgary club in points – it could happen! AMAC placed 3rd overall in the standings and placed ahead of some very well-known and larger clubs.

I would like to thank Derek and Randy for the invaluable assistance they gave me on deck. I didn’t have to worry about where the swimmers were or if they would get to their races on time as that was all taken care of. All I had to do was watch the races, talk to the swimmers, and just coach. Thank you!

A big thank you to all the parents who were up in the crowded stands cheering on all the AMAC swimmers. We could hear you on deck and it was very much appreciated. Thank you!

I’ve saved the biggest thank you for all the swimmers. I couldn’t have been prouder of how well you conducted yourselves. Our area was clean when we left it, no one missed a race, and every one stepped up to swim their events. For our older swimmers, Madisson Cobb, Nick Samuelson, and Brandt Swaren, this is their last Dino Cup. Their leadership on deck was visible and appreciated. Perhaps we’re seeing the new team leaders in a few years? Only time will tell.

Coach Betsy