Sharks swim to 36 firsts, many more PBs at home meet

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The Slave Lake Sharks swim club won no fewer than 10 relay firsts at the opening swim meet of the season. This was the one held in Slave Lake on May 26. Individually, Sharks’ swimmers won 26 races, making it one of the more successful meets in recent years.

By way of comparison, Slave Lake’s meet last year saw nine relay wins by the Sharks and 18 individual firsts.

The meet itself was notable for the number of participants. Sharks’ president Cherie Friesen says the 180 swimmers from 11 clubs were the most ever for a meet in Slave Lake.

Membership in the Sharks is up this year. Club registrar Michelle Vekved tells The Leader there are 65 people signed up, including nine adults. That’s 20 more than in 2017.

Club members involved in competitive swimming practice four times a week and some will be attending a meet pretty much every weekend for the next couple of months. This past weekend’s was in Beaverlodge, with Fairview coming up.

Winning individual races at the Slave Lake meet were Grace Auger, Ethan Baril, Janelle Cardinal, Eleanor Friesen, Taylor Friesen, Darcy Garratt, Karl Koester, Dawson Taylor, Gryffin Taylor, Kellen Tissink, Emersen Vekved and Alexis Wheeler.

In the relays, first-place finishes were by: J. Cardinal, G. Auger A. Vekved and K. Emsland in the Girls 10&Under team in the 100-metre medley and in the 100 Freestyle; B. Emes, S. Pugliese, A. Smits and B. Hoover in the Girls 12&U 200 MR and in the 200 freestyle; E. Vekved, A. Wheeler, E. Friesen and T. Friesen in the Girls 14&U MR and in the 200 freestyle; C. Becker, T. Tissink, D. Taylor and J. Cardinal in the Boys 8&U 100 MR and the 100M freestyle; C. Wiebe, K. Koester, E. Baril and C. Cyr in the Boys 14&U 200 MR and 200M freestyle.

First place finishes are one thing; another way of measuring success is against swimmers’ personal best (PB) times. Sharks’ head coach Jacquie Labrie says 85 per cent of the Sharks’ PBs were improved in the meet, showing how hard they had been working in practice over the previous month.

Another marker of success is the aggregate medals, handed out to the top three point-getters in each category. Labrie says eight of these were earned by Sharks’ team members at the inaugural meet. Winning gold aggregate medals were Elly Friesen, Dawson Taylor and Kellen Tissink. Silver medals went to Grace Auger, Ethan Baril, Taylor Friesen and Darcy Garratt. Gryffin Taylor won bronze aggregate.

Swimmers tense for take-off on the Sharks’ new starting blocks.

Myka Hoover of the Slave Lake Sharks

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