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Sharks rise to challenge at top-calibre meet
In a tough Christmas Cracker Invitational competition attended by 20 teams from Alberta, B.C. and the Yukon, the Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks excelled.
Overall they placed ninth out of 20 teams ... but when one compares team size, they outscored many teams who had double the number of swimmers in attendance – attesting to the calibre of the 17 Sharks who attended.
Not that they were in bad company – young Ben Neufeld found himself swimming against Olympic silver medallist Ryan Cochrane. It must have brought out the best in him because he swam five races in Canadian Age Group Qualifying times – two of which were club records: the 100 back (his own record by 1.21 seconds) and the 200 back (his own record by .72 seconds).
His podium results (two silver and one bronze) were impressive despite the intense competition, but as coach Albert Burgund said, "Don't let the small medal count fool you. There was some outstanding swimming this weekend! We have been working on pace and everyone stepped up and performed well above expectation."
Brooke Lamoureux stole the show with 12 Canadian Age Group Qualifying Times (prelims and finals combined) and in the process broke three club records twice (once in prelims and again in finals). Records she broke this weekend were the 200, 400, and 800 free in the 13-14 age category.
"Her splits were remarkable in all three swims. It shows how well she understands pace and how to maintain over each race distance," commented Burgund. She added to her medal count three gold and four silver. "It was great to watch as the competition was fierce and many races were decided by the smallest of margins," A Sharks' spokesperson said.
Jordyn Ryan was on fire. She swam eight Age Group National Qualifying Times in the 13 year age category. Jordyn will age up just before Age Group Nationals and wanted all her qualifying times in the 14 year age category. She managed that in two events: the 200 and 400 Individual Medley. She is just seconds away on three other events and is confident that she can make them by the end of the short course season (February).
Jordyn added a silver and two bronze to her impressive results. "I felt so good for Jordyn. She came here with big expectations and had set her goals accordingly. She swam aggressively and with a new level of confidence – something we have been working on – and to our delight with expected results," beamed Burgund.
Other new qualifying swims to note were: Juliana Bartemucci in the 400 IM (a testament to her overall stroke improvements) and Josiah Ney who showed unbelievable determination and made his first AAA qualifying time in his last race of the meet in the 100 back.
Gabrielle Wolfe added to the medal count with two silvers and three bronze. "Gabrielle has been showing steady improvement and has a good grasp of pace. We are working on her kick and endurance and it seems to be paying off. She currently is ranked sixth in the 200 fly for her age in Canada," Burgund noted.
"The swimmers use the 'Power Rankings' available on the swimming.ca website to help set their goals and to track who they might be going up against at the bigger meets," the coach added.
The club’s best performance in a relay came from the women's 4x50 Medley where Emma Neufeld (back), Juliana Bartemucci (breast), Joyce Arends (fly), and Brooke Lamoureux (free) posted a 2:08.26 for fifth place.
Great efforts at the Dec. 9-11 meet at Saanich Commonwealth Place in Victoria were made by Aiden and Quinn Webber, Amelia and Jamie Elder, Michael and Eric Jung, Josh Dolman, Ethan Ashley, Tyra Arends and Edyn Nowak who all held their own against some fierce competition. The Sharks look forward to many more successful showings by these swimmers.
"The Sharks thank all their sponsors and the people of the Comox Valley without whom we could never achieve so much," the club spokesperson said.
– Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks