Jolly Old St. Nick delivered more than just a simple Merry Christmas and one early present to the Fort St. John Inconnu on the weekend at the JP Fiset Swim Meet in Edmonton.
Swimmers instead brought home a multitude of gifts in the form of three medals, nine new club records and eight new qualifying times for various high level competitions.
Overall the team placed 13th out of the 31 teams at the event, 10th on the men’s side and 16th on the women’s side. The team’s swimmers also finished with 80 per cent best times, something the club strives for at every meet.
One of the club’s veteran swimmers, Skyeler Kerr booked his ticket for the Canadian Olympic Trials in April, after earning a silver medal in the 100 metre butterfly (55.29). He finished the race under the meet record, but the gold medal winner Tyler Lucas set a new record.
“I was pretty stoked,” Kerr said.
“Mostly a relief going into Christmas because it’s just all that pressure off. So nice just knowing it’s done… We’ve been working on the fly for the last two months. Mostly worked on back-end speed… we could nail the first 50, but it was just coming home, needed to be about sixth tenths faster.”
Kerr also set club records in the 50m freestyle (23.54) and the 100m freestyle (51.67).
He was upstaged in the medal race by a young Inconnu swimmer, Griffin Ternier-Smith, who earned two bronze medals on the weekend in the 12 and under age group, in the 50m and 100m freestyle.
“I wanted to get a medal,” Ternier-Smith said in just his second big time meet. “Going into a race they place you, in the 50 free I was placed first [but] I knew that one [swimmer] had a faster time before in the finals. I knew I would do well but maybe not get my goal.”
He also broke club records in his age group for the 100m breaststroke (1:22.68) and the 200m freestyle (2:17.58).
Not to be outdone, Alex Hedges clinched a spot in the 2016 Age Group Nationals, along with breaking the club record in the 100m butterfly (1:06.46).
“It’s an amazing opportunity to go to [age group nationals],” she said. “It was my goal for the year, but I guess I finished early.”
She will compete in age groups in the 50m freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, along with the 100m butterfly.
Young Owen Lang took down another one of his own records in the 10 and under age group in the 100m butterfly (1:32.94), something he has done in every race this year.
“I feel that I have enough time to go fast, but I don’t have enough time to get tired. So that seems to help,” Lang said about how he’s been able to get better consistently this year.
Brittany Welsh also broke club records in the 400m and 800m freestyle (4:36.21 and 9:22.14 respectively) in the 15 and over girls age group. Welsh said a big part of the meet was the team camaraderie and being able to see the younger swimmers compete and do well.
“Things came together, but I also felt way better than this year than I did last year, so that helped,” Welsh added.
“It’s great to see everybody do well and you always wish the best for your teammates so it’s great to see.”
Other athletes that welcomed presents were Cameron Louie, Cole Crook and David Shipalesky who achieved Swim BC AA times. Piper Finkensiep and Alex McDonald made qualifying times for Swim BC AA provincials and Jayden Forster hit her Swim BC AAA provincial time.
The Inconnu are now off for the Christmas break and will return to the pool hoping to smash some more records in the New Year.