BY ZACHARY CORMIER
The Lacombe Dolphin Swim Club (LDSC) are feeling good about their season so far after competing at their first couple of swim meets this season.
“It’s gone really well. We started in the first week of May and the season goes to the middle of August. We’ve had two swim meets so far; one in Red Deer and one in Innisfail,” said Dolphins’ Swim Coach Presley Waknuk during of the team’s training sessions at the Burman University pool this week.
Waknuk said the team, which is made up of 61 individual swimmers ages five to 17 split between three training groups, have been working hard over the past couple of months and made some strong showings during the last two competitions.
“We train them pretty hard in practice and sometimes it’s tough to see the bigger picture and realize what all of the hard work and practice is going to add up to. But the last couple of swim meets everyone’s taken lots of time off and we placed quite high, so I think that’s rewarding for the kids and for Sydney (Robinson) and I as coaches,” she said.
All of the team’s hard work came to the fore during the Red Deer swim meet on the weekend of June 3rd, as four of the team’s senior swimmers took home all-around aggregate medals for posting the highest combined score across all five of their events.
Those swimmers included Alexa Millot, who won gold in the 9-10 Girls category, Miyanna Graham, who won silver in 11-12 Girls, Amber Reeves, who won silver in 13-14 Girls and Aidan Johns, who won silver in the 15-17 Boys.
“We had four aggregate medal winners in Red Deer, which is a big improvement from last season,” Waknuk said, adding she saw improvement from all of her swimmers throughout the meet.
In fact, the 33 LDSC swimmers that attended the meet in Red Deer combined to post more that 130 personal best times over the course of the weekend.
Emerie Hampton, Mateo Verma and Dylan Beckett were named the Club’s ‘Swimmers of the Meet’ for the junior, intermediate and senior levels respectively.
“Each year we just keep building on it and it shows in their times because they’re improving so much,” said Waknuk, who is now in her third year with the Club and has seen many of the swimmers grow and improve.
“A lot of the Juniors started when I started and each year we’re just kind of building on it and you can really tell that they have the years of training behind them.”
The first meet was a good way to set up for a long season that this year includes five swim meets, not including regionals and provincials.
Unfortunately for the LDSC, all of those swim meets will be taking place away from Lacombe this year, as they were unable to host their own meet due to the ongoing renovations at the Lacombe Sports and Leisure Centre.
“It’s too bad that we lost a swim meet but with the renovations at the other pool it just wasn’t feasible this year because there wasn’t anywhere to house all of the swimmers between swims,” said Waknuk, adding the focus now is on preparing for regionals in Ponoka the weekend of Aug. 13th and, if all goes well provincials in Edmonton the following week.
In order to qualify for provincials in each event, swimmers have to place in the top two in that event at regionals.
“Provincials is the goal for most of the swimmers. That’s what we’re training for,” said Waknuk, adding this year the goal for many of the swimmers will be to do more than just qualify.
“We have some provincially-ranked swimmers already this season, so we’re looking for some provincial medals this year.”
For the swimmers that means continuing to train hard, with juniors and intermediates in the pool three times per week and seniors practicing five nights a week.
“Just working on technique. We’re working on speed, dives, touches, turns. Just the little things now because we spent the past couple of months getting back into shape. So now it’s just the smaller things in the races that are going to take the time off,” Waknuk said.
The Lacombe Dolphin Swim Club’s next meet is in Hanna on July 2nd.