BY ZACHARY CORMIER
Hard work and perseverance paid off in bunches this season for the Lacombe Dolphins Swim Club, as several members of the team competed at the annual Alberta Provincial swim meet in Edmonton last weekend.
It was a busy weekend for the Dolphins, as the team had no fewer than 33 swimmers qualify for the province’s top meet, including 37 individual swims and 13 relays over the course of the three-day meet.
“We did really, really well. We were super impressed with the kids,” said Dolphins Swim Coach Presley Waknuk of her team’s performance over the weekend.
Waknuk said that everyone on the team has put in a lot of hard work to improve their times in the pool, and it showed.
“Everyone improved a lot and that’s all we can really ask for. They were all going best times at Regionals and then again at Provincials.”
In fact, this season the team had 20 top 10 individual finishes at Provincials, up from six last year. They also had seven relay teams finish in the top 10 of their events.
“We had 33 swimmers qualify for Provincials, we had 40 go to Regionals, which is a record for our club,” Waknuk said, adding that the young swimmers made the coaches happy both in and out of the water.
“They all trained really hard. I think they all are learning a good work ethic and I think they’ve made lots of friends, which is also a big part of it.”
Among the Dolphins’ top times at the event were Amber Reeves, who placed fourth overall in the 13-14 girls’ 200m individual medley and Kylie Schatschneider who finished fourth overall in the 9-10 girls’ 25m backstroke.
“It makes it all worthwhile. It reaffirms that we’re doing a good job, I guess, and that we’re on the right track,” Waknuk said, adding that the kids have been really excited to be training throughout the summer.
Some of them were in the pool five days a week.
“I think when they see the big picture and realize how much they’ve improved and how much time they’ve taken off, they can appreciate why we push them so hard.”
The Provincial swim meet was the final one of the 2016 season for the Dolphins, who started on May 1st this year and only swim during the summer months.
“It allows the kids to still participate in all of the school sports throughout the winter, and hockey and all that. It’s a good way to stay in shape over the summer for those sports. So they can go back now for hockey tryouts and they’re going to be in a lot better shape than most of the other kids,” Waknuk said.
She added that looking back over the season, she couldn’t be happier with how the team fared.
“They improved so much. We were really proud of how they did. We had a lot of aggregate medal winners throughout the year, too. A lot of top three placements at swim meets throughout the year. This is my third year and it’s definitely been the best year so far.”
The Lacombe Dolphins Swim Club will be back in the water next May.