Tier I Summer Championship Shines a Bright Light on Athlete Improvement

By Vlad Volchkov

On June 21 st, the Richmond Rapids sent a squad of 18 swimmers to Kelowna to compete in the Tier I Summer Provincial Championships. The Summer Championships were a three-day timed final swim meet with two sessions per day.

Throughout the course of the weekend, most of the swimmers had eight individual swims and at least one relay. The high volume of racing created a platform for the young Rapids up-and-comers to practice self-management, mental fortitude, and race consistency. After three exhausting days of racing, our athletes arrived home on Sunday having achieved impressive drops in a variety of events, new Tier I and Tier II cuts, and new club records.

At the beginning of each session, the coaches reminded the athletes of the theme of the weekend: Race like you are in finals. As the weekend progressed, it got consistently harder to follow the theme. Each race required our swimmers to put in 100%, and the Rapids stayed tough. Everybody was consistently dropping time and moving up spots. It seemed that the Rapids swimmers refused to slow down! A standout example was Joshua Wall, placing 3 rd in the 200 breaststroke and setting 6 new club records over the three days.

A few swimmers also made new provincial Tier II cuts thus allowing them to compete in the Tier II Provincial Championships. Howie Chu and Daniel Du qualified in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, and Liam Pearce qualified in the 400m freestyle.

Several of our younger development athletes also swam qualifying times for Tier I in a higher age group. By doing so, our swimmers set themselves up well for next season and will be able to focus on constantly developing racing skills at meets without the pressure of requalifying once they age up.

The main takeaway from the championship meet was the incredible amount of improvement across the variety of events. Over the course of three days, 18 swimmers combined for a total of over 600 seconds dropped from their previous best times. In comparison the total time dropped at Fastswim, one of our focus meets, was just slightly over 300 seconds with four times as many athletes. It was an impressive result from all our swimmers and we hope to continue this trajectory of improvement and racing energy into next season.

The club would also like to thank the chaperones for the trip who played a huge part in the success of the swimmers: Karen De Costa, Al & Corrina Wall, and Jennifer Cheng.