Western Canadian Championships - Day 3 Report

13 April 2018 (Victoria, BC) - Day 3, how could it be bigger than Day2 or even Day 1? Do you know how hard it is getting to make up superlatives to describe the performances going on at the Sannich Commonwealth Games Pool? It ain’t easy but making up words is nothing new to us here in the press box.

Do you know what is one of the most exciting events in swimming - the swim off! Cascade (**Fake News Warning**) has never, and I mean never, ever, lost a swim off in the last 13 years of racing them since they were invented in 2005. They had one this morning that would truly test that unbeaten streak, it was in the 400m freestyle and was going to be a barn burner. Emma Sutton went a lifetime best in the prelims of 4:40.62 and tied for 17th position with another swimmer who went the exact same time - meaning a sudden death tie-breaker would be required in case of any scratches or missed swims. At the end of the morning in between the girls and guys relay the match had been set. Emma was out smooth and strong with the other girl from Campbell River Killer Wales right with her - the two of them swimming stroke for stroke until the 250m mark before…Sutton made a bit of a dash to get away. The other young girl sensing that something was afoot but breathing in the opposite direction missed the move as Emma went by her. At the 300m the Killer Whale swimmer realized her tactical error and clawed her way back to Emma and right at that crucial moment when the other swimmer had managed to get herself to Emma and was sensing a bit of relief at not having been left in the dust…the wheels on the bus kicked in and Emma’s kick went from 7 to 11 and over the next 75m she flew by and got to the wall in 4:36.06 - 4/100ths ahead of her competitor - that was a six send personal best on the day for Sutton! A crushing best time and morale booster for the team as Emma prolonged the teams long running unbeaten streak in swim offs to 97 wins!

In the morning - more relays, the 4x100 Medley Relay to be exact and Cascade had plenty to crow about once again after they were all done. Two boys teams into the medals and a stellar swim out of the girls team to get themselves in to the points as well, sort of.

The Cascade girls “Alpha” crew made up of Ella Varga, Isabelle Roth, Ava Free and Jasmine Kwan all were strong. Varga led out in 1:07.44 while Isabelle Roth threw down a 1:15.09 swim. Ava Free, butterfly swimmer extraordinaire, was on fire with her 1:06.45 swim keeping them in the fight. On the end, our anchorman, our Ron Burgundy, Jasmine Kwan, kicked up a notch to finish in 1:00.07. Final time for the girls - 4:29.05 and in to the points in 5th. But, unfortunately, they were deeked out of the race for a false start - they along with about 10 other teams!

What were our boys up to? Cascade fielded three strong teams with the “A” team getting into the medals with a dominant gold medal performance while solid swims out of the “B” and “C” teams brought the team valuable points.

“A” “B” “C”

3:52.03 4:01.20 4:08.18

Gold Silver 12th

Seb 57.70 Stephen 59.37 Isak 1:00.53

Matt 1:08.13 Mathieu 1:10.93 Hayden 1:12.74

Cole 54.99 Youssef 57.76 Kian 1:01.74

Alex P 51.21 Alex K 53.14 Sho 53.17

Up in the evening our first event was the 400m freestyle and Ava Free found herself in the mix and in and amongst a top-notch field of girls which included last week’s national Champion, Molly Gowans, two members of the National Jr team and a host of others that were having a great meet. Free who was 4:27 in the prelims stepped it up at night narrowly missing the medals but getting out of herself a new lifetime best time of 4:24.89 for 6th place.

Kian Pratt, who had already lopped off 6 seconds from his previous personal best found himself in and amongst the race of his life with Mathieu Cyr, the destroyer of last night’s 400IM, and host of other young swimmer all, seemingly & figuratively, on fire in the 400. Pratt & Cyr qualified in 4th and 6th respectively and while Cyr did go a best time we all knew he had plenty left in the tank especially after the 400m IM he had done last night making his first ever senior nat cut. Pratt charged out of the gates leading the field through the first 100m in an effort to get the pace going quick early on while Cyr sat back with that cool distance swimmer confidence biding his time until he decided to make his move. The battle for the bronze heated up to a boiling point at the 300m mark with 3 swimmers all vying for that last podium position only separated by 4/10ths of a second. After 350m mark that difference had remained the same between the three of them and it was coming down to the last 50m and…our distance ace Mathieu Cyr killed it on the last 50m with a 30.5. Final time for the bronze medalist Cyr was a 4:10.03 with Pratt taking another 3 seconds off of his best to come in 5th in 4:11.59.

In the big kids final, Alex Katelnikoff, who had taken the bronze medal last week in Montreal at the Canadian Swimming Championships cruised through the prelims in 4:06.41 (he was 3:57.55 at the Jr Pan Pac trials last week) and set himself up well for the evening swim. Youssef Maksoud had also had a good swim going 4:09.24 which was a 4 second PB from his 4:13 entry time. At night, Katelnikoff, taking the opportunity to try out some new strategies took it our hard in 56.8 on the first 100m seeing if he could get anyone to go along with him at that quick clip. With no one wanting to bravely dare the pace he had set Katelnikoff throttled back and in hindsight, he said, he throttled back a little too much on the engine and had a hard time picking it back up again. Not that it was too off but in a rhythm event like the 400m, 800m or 1500m freestyles playing too much with the pace can disrupt your splits that you have a hard time getting back to were you want to be. Katelnikoff finished well at 4:02.84 for the silver medal. Youssef Maksoud put up another solid swim making even more improvement with the 4:07.23 that he did and moving up to 6th place overall. Maksoud, one of our newest senior national qualifiers has been having a solid meet all-around here in Victoria with one of his biggest, best and most important events coming up tomorrow, the 800m freestyle.

In the 100m butterfly event we had a strong showing from our boy in the final. Cole Pratt swam strong in the morning just 18/100ths over his lifetime best, and faster than he went last week in Montreal, in 55.83 and then eclipsing that time at night with a good 55.64 to take the gold in a new lifetime best.

Our 200m backstrokers, historically, are the things of legend. Ella Varga, looking to be a part of that dynastic movement qualified first in the morning by two full seconds in 2:19 - just off of the 2:18 she did in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago. Varga’s 2:18.20 is the number-one ranked time in the event for 13-14 year-old girls but, our program is never one to rest on its laurels so the goal was make some gains in the overall time and continue the focus on improving the ever important underwater work by Ella. Alex Butler who had gone right at her best time in the prelims of 2:24.07 was looking to make some more headway in her swim as well qualifying 7th place. Varga was out second but in touch with the leader at the first 50m in 32.4 and then 1:07.3 at the 100m mark. Ella actually lost a little bit of ground on the 3rd 50 to hit 1:42.85 and be back by 7/10ths at the 150m mark. Ella crushed her last 50 though in 34.9 to overpass all competitors by a second and a half on the last 50 going 2:17.83 and winning by 4/10ths of a second - still remaining #1 in the country for 13-14 year-old girls. Butler continued to improve on her lifetime best taking more than a full second off going 2:22.33 and moving up a spot to 6th.

In the boys race we had three of them in the 14-16 year-old final and three of them in the 17&O final. Stephen Hou had a medal in his grasp yesterday in the 50m backstroke only to give it up after a mis-display on the board. He would be looking for hardware of his own in this one tonight. Mathieu Cyr had already gone a best time and pulled a great come from behind swim to grab bonze - could he do the same tonight? Hou sat back almost the entire turning 5th at the 50, 4th at the 100 and then moving up to 3rd at the 150m mark. With the fastest last out of anyone in the field he took silver in the last few meters in 2:08.24. Mathieu Cyr dropped another couple of seconds after already swimming one of the biggest programs of any of our athletes, and he still has the 800m event to go, but he still managed a two second drop in his personal best to get to 2:10.16 and move up to 6th overall.

With the big boys it was a battle of the cousins for the podium, Isak Nash & Sho Neilson, along with Sebastian Somerset the number one qualifier in the event. Somerset cruised a 2:07.64 in the prelims and then turned it up a notch at night leaving the entire field in the dust - especially off of the walls. It has become a Cascade swim club trademark that our top backstrokers are also some of the top underwater swimmers in the country and Somerset proved that in spades killing it off of all of the walls - especially noticeable on the very last one where he out split the field by more than a full second on the last 50m in 30.73 to swim 2:03.46 and clinch the Western Canadian Championship. Isak Nash, 9th in this event last week in Montreal at the Canadian Swimming Championships, and Sho Neilson have long traded over the families “House Champ” title in the 200m back with Nash taking the trophy at last week’s meet. Neilson, not wanting it out of the house and with a family dinner awards presentation coming up this week, wanting to see the cup back in the Neilson household pulled out all the stops. Exactly together to the 100th at the 50m mark, Nash slightly ahead at the 100m, then saw the two of them nearly together at the 150m. Whoever gets their hand on the wall first the 200 would not grab bronze but they would grab the coveted “Neilson - Nash Cup” and bragging rights at the next family dinner. Sho won in 2:06.99 taking bronze while Isak had to settle for 4th in 2:08.27.

The last event of the night was a gong show full of all sots of drama as have been a number of relays this week. In some of the relay events all it has taken to get to the podium has been a clean swim with no DQ’s -time has been irrelevant!

“B” “C” “A”

14th 1 8th 1st - DQ

4:16.11 4:11.84 4:04

Stephen 1:00.32 Alex B. 1:05.82 Sebastian 56.9

Liz 1:18.14 Matthew 1:08.82 Isabelle 1:13.9

Youssef 57.73 Alex P. 56.81 Cole 55.3

Jasmine 59.92 Emma 1:00.39 Ava 58.3

The Cascade “A” team won the event by more than 3 seconds but was unfortunately DQ’d and had to settle for last. The other two scoring teams pulled up some of the slack for the squad.

Another great night for Cascade seeing ourselves pull away from everyone on the medal count as well as combined men’s & women’s overall team points championship.

You can follow complete live results at the following link (available through our club websites “Follow Results” tab) or direct though here.

Other finals swims

400 Free

Liz Harper, 4:34.34 (7th)

50 Breast

Isabelle Roth, 33.94 (9th)


Medal Tally after Day 2

1. CASC 13G 5S 6B 24T

2. ISC 6G 5S 3B 14T

3. UCSC 6G 2S 5B 13T

4. LOSC 5G 3S 2B 10T

5. RAPID 5G 1S 1B 7T

6. SKSC 4G 5S 2B 11T

Points Standings after Day 2


1. CASC 1193

2. UVIC 438

3. RAPID 422

4. SKSC 378


1. UCSC 847

2. ISC 758

3. CASC 371

4. RDCSC 364


1. CASC 1594

2. UCSC 1314

3. ISC 1091

4. UVIC 625