TEAM CHAMP 2014 REPORT Mitch Bowmile Correspondent "SWIMSWAMNEWS" Canada

This December the Mallards Swim Team competed at our last Championship meet of the 2014 calendar year, the Division one Team Championships, against some of the stiffest competitors in all of Ontario.

All the swimmers fought hard for three days to garner a sixth place finish with a grand total of 414 points, the best result ever in the history of our club.

There were 32 new club records set which led to 14 new swimmers being qualified for competitions that require time standards.

All our athletes competed amazingly to put up an astounding rate of 86 per cent personal bests. Thereýs no denying that our athletesý hard work and dedication paid off.


DAY ONE

The first day featured plenty of hurricane swimmers as our distance squad stepped onto the blocks to compete in the 400m freestyle. Matthew Suen was first and rocketed to a sixth place finish with a time of 4:27.60 and a new club record.

The two Zhang brothers, Anthony and Terrance, were the remaining competitors in the 400. Anthony took a break from bugging Phillip to swim a 4:43.21 in his race and finish 21st. Terrance swam a new club record of 4:20.30.

While the older guys were racing their 400ýs and waiting for the prelims of the 100m fly and 50m freestyle, some of the younger guys which included a large portion of the Tornadoes and Tsunami groups got ready to race.

Jason and Stas were the only two boys to race in the 11-12 400m freestyle. Jason, or Mr. Spaceman as Serge likes to call him, got his mind on track to be very competitive in the race, dropping almost a second off his personal best. Stas was right up there with him taking off an astounding 26.9 seconds off his previous best time.

Next Elijah Daley raced the 100m fly. He walked up to the blocks with his usual ear-to-ear grin, finished the event in eighth, and climbed out of the water and over to the coaches with the exact same smile. In the girls 100m fly Nadege, one of the hardest working swimmers in our club, trudged to the wall for a fourth place finish with a time of 1:24.69. That wasnýt enough for Nadege as she went on to grab a fifth place finish in the 100m IM shortly after.

Lily Daley grabbed the first Mallards gold of the meet with a win in the 50m freestyle. Lily, who always shows the eye of the tiger, jumped into the water and exploded to a huge lead. She claimed gold with a time of 30.51 creating close to a three second lead to dominate the field.

Dennis Zhang swam in the boys 11-12 50m freestyle, breaking 30 for the first time ever with a time of 29.84.


DAY TWO MORNING/ AFTERNOON

After an extremely successful day one the Mallards swimmers were back in action, starting with the older guys swimming in the prelims. Several of our top swimmers qualified to compete in finals, and as the session ended our fiercest young swimmers showed up at the pool.

The first event on the docket for Mallards swimmers in the PM session was the girlýs 10&under 100m breaststroke. This event featured two Tornados swimmers: Dior Kavathas and Emma Gao.

Dior and I had been arguing back and forth for weeks about Diorýs decision to relax in practice. Dior loves relaxing, and sometimes the coaches believe that she mistakes practice for the beach. Clearly Dior doesnýt feel this way about competitions as out of nowhere Dior came flying in for a fourth place finish taking almost a second off her time and touching in at 1:32.85. After the race we asked Dior where that came from and she just looked at all of us coaches, smiled, and left.

The boys 100m breaststroke featured the trio of Tyler Griffiths, Steve Frantskevich, and Vittorio Chan. It seemed as though anytime one of them would go up and race, the others would follow and often time they were in the same heats, getting ready to face off against one another.

Thereýs no denying that this pushed them all to greater results as they all swam very well in the breaststroke final. Tyler, with one of the best positive attitudes on the team, managed to secure a point with an eighth place finish featuring a seven-and-a-half second time drop.

In the girls 11-12 100m breaststroke Emma Myburgh showed some excellent fighting skills. She finished second with a time of 1:20.74 just narrowly missing the top spot by three tenths of a second. Catherine Sheng, Rachel Chew, and Marissa Hughsam all followed Emmaýs lead and persevered with some great results to demonstrate how hard theyýve been working in practice leading up to the meet.

The next race featured one of the greatest talents our club has to offer: Alvin Lau. Alvin stepped up on the blocks on the 100m breaststroke and I quickly turned to Serge and pointed to the boy beside Alvin. This boy was from Etobicoke, was taller than me, and probably around Sergeýs height. Alvin raced him with a look of determination on his face, killed him on the walls, but ultimately finished second with a new club record of 1:12.04. The look on Alvinýs face after the race was of pure anger in losing and he looked as though he was itching for the next opportunity to race this boy. Mr. Dennis Zhang also cracked the top eight with a 1:23.33 performance to finish fourth.

After winning the 50m freestyle on day one, Lily Daley rocked a 37.13 in the girls 10&under 50m backstroke final to finish first. Right behind her was Nadege to give the Mallards a 1-2 finish in the event. Also finishing well was Sophia Chen who clocked in at 42.19 for ninth place.

In the boys 100m backstroke final Bryan Yang got to face off against Alvinýs foe from Etobicoke, and dropped almost three seconds off his lifetime best to give the boy a run for his money. Bryan ended up second overall in the event with a time of 1:10.02. He showed great determination and a willingness to compete throughout the entirety of the competition.

Elijah Daley, one of two eight-year-olds in the 50m fly, finished third overall to grab a bronze medal in 38.51.

To finish off day two for the younger swimmers, Alvin grabbed another gold medal with a win in the 200m fly. He touched in at 2:19.73, winning the event by over 22 seconds.


DAY TWO FINALS

Finals kicked off with the 200m freestyle relays. Our 10&under girls showed their dominance with a first place finish. Our 10&under boys were eighth. Our 11-12 girls were 13th and our 11-12 boys finished second overall to complete an amazing relay showing by our younger swimmers.

The older swimmers were reariný to go after a great prelims session. A total of 10 swimmers had qualified to swim finals on day two, putting our team in a great position to extend on our point total.

The first event was the 50m freestyle and Jordan Lee was our only swimmer in the 13-14 year-old final. Amazingly, he made a significant time-drop in prelims to make it to the finals showing unquestionable tenacity on his way to an eighth place finish with a time of 26.78.

In the 17&over final it was another classic dual between Aidan Chow and Phillip Radounski. These races are extremely competitive and fast paced, and this time Aidan got the upper hand finishing third overall with a time of 24.22. Phillip was right behind him chasing him down as he finished fourth in 24.57.

Next was the 100m breaststroke featuring Anthony Zhang and Matthew Suen. Phillip watched eagerly as Anthony swam. Phillip thought that if Anthony swam well, he might be in such a good mood that he would stop bugging him. Phillip got his wish and Anthony swam well, grabbing a bronze medal with a time of 1:11.38. Matthew finished fifth in 1:14.08.

Prisco Ju was quick as well, finishing eighth in the boys 15-16 year-old final, clocking in at 1:09.25.

While the boys were swimming the 100m breaststroke, Alison Ko and Cynthia Yang were getting ready for the 100m backstroke where both of them had the potential to pick up some serious points for the team. First up was Alison. She posted a 1:07.56 to take fifth in the event. Cynthia was up next and displayed how strong the Yang family swims backstroke with a sixth place finish and a swift time of 1:03.77.

In the boys 100m backstroke Kevin Mo finished eighth with a time of 1:03.02. Phillip competed in his third final that night (following a sixth place finish in the 200m freestyle), and came fifth in the 100 back.

Our last two individual swimmers got ready to race, and Madison De Jesus-Walker was ready for her 200m fly. Now, one of Madisonýs best events is no doubt the 200m fly, although you wouldnýt be able to tell that based on her hatred of the event. If I had a nickel for every time I heard Madison say, ýUgh. Why did Serge put me in 200 fly,ý I would be a very rich man. Regardless of her hatred for the event, she grabbed a fifth place finish with a 2:38.14.

Swimming next was Aidan Chow, a swimmer who has fully embraced the 200m fly and now adds it to his list of favourite events. Aidan went 2:11.66 to finish fourth and grab more points for the team.

To finish off the night we continued our tradition of relay excellence with an eighth place finish in the girls 13-14 200m freestyle relay, a fifth place finish in the boys 13-14 relay, an 11th place finish in the girls 15&over relay, and a fifth place finish in the boys 15&over relay.


DAY THREE MORNING/ AFTERNOON

On the final day of competition the Mallards were ready for more action at the Etobicoke Olympium.

The younger swimmers got to the pool, finished their warm-up, and several of them got ready for backstroke events.

First up was Michelle Zhang in the 200m backstroke as she mustered finish with a time of 2:54.50 to take about a second and a half off of her personal best.

Next up was Bryan Yang in the 200m backstroke. He showed no fear and took control of the race right from the get-go, leading the competition by a significant margin. Bryan was passed towards the end of the race, finishing second overall in 2:34.89 for a big time drop as well.


Following the 200m backstrokes the 10&under 100m backstroke finals took place. In the boys final Nathan Chu finished 23rd with a time of 1:40.45. Lily Daley grabbed another medal with a 1:20.32 followed by a 13th place finish by Sophia Chen in 1:33.86.

Emma Myburgh grabbed the third medal for the Mallards on day three with a second place finish in the 200m breaststroke to match her silver from the 100m breaststroke earlier in the meet. Emma rocked a time of 2:55.99. Three other Mallards were featured in the final as Marissa Hughsam came 23rd, Catherine Sheng came 26th, and Stephanie Yeung finished 30th.

The boys 200m breaststroke was all about payback as Alvin Lau got to race the boy who beat him in the 100m breaststroke final. Once again the two got on the block, but Serge had a grin on his face as he looked at Alvin standing there on the block. You could almost see the fire in Alvinýs eyes as he dove into the water. He ripped his rival apart and took gold in 2:36.48, a new club record. His rival was second, and Dennis Zhang rounded out the top three with a 3:02.27 bronze medal performance. Jason Li was 9th.

The rest of the team was clearly inspired by Alvinýs performance as Lily Daley continued her winning ways and grabbed another gold, topping the field in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 39.73. Lily was the only swimmer under 40 seconds. Dior Kavathas performed amazingly also, coming in for a fourth place finish.

Tyler Griffiths matched Diorýs fourth place finish in his 10&under 50m breaststroke final followed by Steve Frantskevich who touched in for a sixth place finish.

Alvin had one more win left in him as he faced off against his rival one more time, this time in the 200m IM, and came up with another big win. Alvin was a 2:23.68 to claim his second gold of the day. Nadege Wredenhagen came fifth in her 10&under 200m IM, clocking in under three minutes with a solid 2:56.24.

Lily followed in Alvinýs footsteps and grabbed another gold (which happened to be her third medal of the day), winning the 100m freestyle in 1:08.77.


DAY THREE FINALS

The final session of the meet approached and the Mallards knew that a best-ever finish for the team was at stake when they walked onto the deck.

Nine swimmers had made finals from the morningýs prelims after some impressive results, which included many swimmers coming very close to qualifying for a second swim.

Vivian Li was one of them. She was very solid in the 200m backstroke with a time of 2:27.88 that earned her a 10th place finish. Jimmy Sheng and Daniel Shklyarman swam extremely well in their 200m backstroke prelims as well.

Ryan Suen finished 12th in the 200m IM, just off of a finals spot, but with a very quick time of 2:21.61. Felix Yong was just behind him in 2:23.24 to come 16th.

William Wen, David Vidmar, and Hanshen Wang all swam solid 200m breaststrokes. William was 11th in the boys 13-14 prelims, David was 13th in his prelim followed by Hanshen who was 15th behind David.

Sarina Wan, Glorio Lo, Janice Lau, Egor Dyuzhev, and David Shi all demonstrated great fighting abilities in the 100m freestyle. Sarina took almost a second off her lifetime best and Egor took almost three full seconds off of his.

All the prelim swims helped keep the fire going for the Mallards swimmers as finals began with the medley relays.

The 11-12 girls were in the water first and they finished ninth. Following them, the Mallards grabbed two golds: one in the boys 11-12 relay and one in the girls 10&under relay. The boys 10&under relay finished sixth overall.

After some awe-inspiring results on the relays, it was time for some of Mallardsý best swimmers to get ready for their individual races. Cynthia Yang was the first to swim.

Cynthia loves backstroke. In fact, she loves backstroke so much that before early morning practices when sheýs really tired you can oftentimes find her walking backwards towards the pool with her eyes half open.

This time however, she was racing the 100m fly, and despite being a backstroker through-and-through had a very impressive showing with a 1:08.67 and an eighth place finish.

After Cynthia, the boys got ready to race and Ethan Daley, Prisco Ju, and Aidan Chow all headed to the blocks.

Ethan was the first to race and dropped a 1:05.88 to finish seventh. After Ethan, Prisco dove in.

Now, going through Priscoýs head was a bunch of things. Prisco is one of the hardest working swimmers on the team, but has a deep fear of Serge. Before a race, his main focus is making sure that he swims well as to not upset Serge.

Prisco swam very well that day. He cracked the one-minute barrier in the 100m fly in prelims, and finished eighth in finals. He almost broke the one-minute barrier for the second time that day, however, he touched in at 1:00.09 just shy of that mark.

Aidan was up next, and as the captain of the team he had to inspire everyone. He dove in and finished first with a time of 56.81, a new personal best and club record. Thereýs no doubt that his leadership is one of the reasons behind our success this season.

After the 100m fly, the Mallards were on fire. Alison Ko swam a 2:27.71 to grab seventh in the 200m backstroke. Anthony Zhang stepped up and rocketed to a 2:37.57 200m breaststroke to get a silver medal. Justin Lee had an amazing race to finish seventh overall in the 200m breaststroke. Prisco performed well in his second final of the night with a sixth place finish in the 200m breaststroke with a very quick 2:28.85.

Ethan swam his second final of the night and finished fifth in the 200m IM ahead of Matthew Suen who was sixth. Anthony was eighth in that final, which was also his second of the night.

For his third final of the night Prisco was seventh in the 200m IM, grabbing more and more essential points for Mallards. Aidan was 4th in the 17&over 200m IM, and after that got ready for his 100m freestyle final.

The last individual final of the meet for the Mallards featured another showdown between Aidan and Phillip Radounski. This time, Phillip got the better of him with a 53.62 to finish fifth.

All that was left was the relays and the Mallards earned points in every single one of them. They were fifth in both the boys 13-14, the girls 13-14 year-old, and the boys 15&over relay. The girls 15&over relay finished sixth.

Overall, the Mallards finished sixth with a grand total of 414 points. Together the team earned 36 medals, 20 of which were gold.

All of our swimmers who competed showed a great determination. All the coaches are extremely proud of how every single swimmer performed and how they were a great representation of what we stand for at Mallards.

Congratulations to all the swimmers and coaches for putting together such a great team and competing successfully at the 2014 Division 1 Team Champs.


Mitch Bowmile
Canadian correspondent for SwimSwamNews

 
    
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