Half a dozen club records fell as the Duncan Stingrays wrapped up the short-course swimming season by sending five swimmers to the Swim BC Tier II Winter Championships in Kamloops earlier this month.
Oliver Castle, 16, broke three club records, Olin Dahlstrom, 14, broke two, and McKinley Thomas-Perry, also 14, broke one at the provincial meet on March 2-4. Also representing the club in Kamloops were Jasmine Kremer and Dylan Kruger, also both 14.
“Our swimming program showed strength of character over the weekend,” said Stingrays head coach Leanne Sirup, who attended the meet with assistant coach Brent Forsyth.
“They tested their skills against the very best in B.C., now probably the strongest provincial program in Canadian swimming,” assistant coach Bruce Clarke added.
The Stingrays recorded the second-most points among small Vancouver Island clubs, and finished fairly high in the standings for a club that took only five athletes.
“Our team was young but durable and scored over 100 points, moving into the upper middle of all clubs in B.C.,” Sirup said.
The meet attracted 460 qualified swimmers from 32 clubs across B.C.
Clarke called Castle, who competed in the boys 16-18 division, “the leader by example of this team.” Castle set personal bests in all of his events and scored points for top-16 placings in six heats and finals over the three days.
Castle’s three club records came in the 100m backstroke (1:00.14), the 200m IM (2:12.42) and the 200m backstroke (2:09.58). He set the 100m backstroke record as he placed sixth in the final and the 200m IM record as he finished seventh in that final. Castle’s 200m backstroke record came in the preliminaries, but he also finished eighth in the final of that event. He withdrew from the 400m IM final, although Clarke believes that could eventually be his best event.
“Oliver was focused,” Forsyth said.
Castle also attended the B.C. Senior Championships at UBC on March 16-18.
Dahlstrom set new club records in the 100m (1:03.67) and 200m (2:24.44) butterfly. His time in the 100m race broke a 23-year-old mark previously owned by Brian Hill, who went on to race in four Paralympics. Dahlstrom also set personal bests in four of his five events and discovered some speed in shorter freestyle races.
“The Tier II champs was a fine start on the provincial stage for Olin,” Clarke said.
Thomas-Perry’s record came in the 100m breaststroke, where her time of 1:17.14 broke Tamara Garrioch’s old mark. Thomas-Perry, who Clarke calls a “rising star,” scored points for the team in all six of her races.
“She has strong freestyle, good backstroke and quick breaststroke, and is having fun seeing all the races she can do well in,” Clarke said.
Thomas-Perry qualified for B.C. Senior Championships, but the entry deadline had already passed.
Kruger had won medals in backstroke at the VIR meet, and was feeling a little off in Kamloops, but still held his own in the 400m freestyle and placed in the 100m and 200m breaststroke.
Kremer was the youngest Stingray at the meet, but Forsyth calls her the hardest worker in the group, and noted her rapid improvement. She took five seconds off her previous best in the 200m butterfly and placed in all six of her events, her best result 21st in the 100m fly.
Forsyth developed the training plan for the top groups, which led to their success in Kamloops.
“Leanne has given Brent free rein on the training of this group, and the results are good,” Clarke said. “Brent is tireless in that he will not likely give the swimmers too much of a spring break for fear of losing the aerobic base these fine young athletes have developed.”