Elite competition a great gauge of Garriock's abilities
Duncan Stingrays' Natalia Garriock is now racing against senior level swimmers in Canada.
Garriock, 16, attended the Speedo Western Canadian Championships in Saskatoon, a huge meet that included 63 teams and 539 swimmers. The Eastern Canadian Championships were held simultaneously in Montreal with another 60+ teams and 713 participants.
From the two meets, Swimming Canada combined results and created a virtual leader board that ultimately ranked the swimmers on a national stage in each event. Garriock's top ranking nationally was 20th place overall in the 100-metre fly.
She swam five races at the meet in the 16 and Over category, earning four seasonal personal bests and one lifetime best in the 100 fly.
Garriock earned a spot in three finals — the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly — and claimed the unfortunate spot as first alternate in a fourth race, the 50 fly.
In the process, Garriock broke her own Duncan Swim team record in the 100 fly. Her previous best of 1:04.69 from March 3, 2012 was pared to 1:03.53.
"She is now the fastest homegrown Cowichan Valley 100 flyer and the second fastest DST female 100 flyer ever behind 50 free World Champion Alison Sheppard,'' pointed out Stingrays' coach Leanne Sirup.
"This was a great learning experience for Natalia. Some are using this as their major competition, others are swimming through and racing with little rest as their major competition is coming up at the start of April — the World Championship Trials.''
The mental game, Sirup added, becomes an even greater aspect of racing at this stage with competitors in different spaces of their season.
"It made Natalia more aware of the tactics in each of the races and to stick harder to her own strategies.
"The other major part of her learning experience was her having to step up and race at her best in the preliminaries sessions. There is much research and many references to the physiological challenges of athletes performing early in the mornings and, for Natalia, out of her five races, four of them were lifetime morning personal bests.''
Sirup added the results accentuate her improvements during the past season and are encouraging going into the provincial AAA competition where Garriock will be aiming to qualify for the World Championship Trials.