Nothing was stopping Xelian Louw from swimming in the AAA provincials in Kamloops last weekend. Not even a broken arm.
When the KISU swimmer arrived, the initial reaction by coach Tina Hoeben was to scratch him.
“He really wanted to be there,” said Hoeben.
Louw, using a waterproof cast, teamed up with lead swimmer Samuel Lasinski, Jaren LeFranc and Riley Wall in 13- and 14-year-old boys relay team to earn a bronze medal. Lasinski set things in motion by earning a best time by half a second.
“Everyone from there on swam their hearts out,” said Hoeben. “Xelian Louw had to anchor that relay … it was amazing to see those boys. They all worked really hard together as a team.”
“I don’t think we were expecting as much as he gave,” said Wall of Louw. “We were really happy.”
“I think it’s impressive,” said Lasinski. “Most people would use that as an excuse. I have a broken arm, it’s OK that we got maybe fourth or fifth.”
Lasinski said before the meet they had their sights set on a strong performance.
“We were sort of the underdogs going in,” said LeFranc. “We performed pretty good considering.”
Along with that performance, Louw also earned some best times.
The meet was also memorable for the club as Hoeben watched club records get shattered.
Payton Nackoney went under a minute (59.54) in the 100-metre freestyle. Hoeben said that’s a big benchmark for females. Nackoney also took down the club record that stood since 1992.
Acacia Benn beat the 1989 record in the 200-m backstroke in 2:29.91, as well as a 50-m backstroke mark in 34.68 seconds. Annaliese Spence broke the 100-m backstroke in 1:09.37. Lasinski broke three club records, the 100-m backstroke (1:02.78) from 2003, the 100-m fly (1:01.36) from 1991, and the 200-m fly (2:21.68) from 2006.
“It was great to see some of those long-standing records go down,” said Hoeben, who attributed it to hard training. “Some really gutsy swims. Acacia Benn’s 200-m backstroke was amazing. She went back in for finals and swam faster. Sam has the records in a lot of other strokes. Now he’s just broadening his record collection.”
Elijah Kliever won a bronze in the 100-m back stroke.
Not everything went well for KISU as Hoeben said there were learning experiences for swimmers.
“For any great athlete, there are many times when you have to fail in order to become better,” she said.
KISU swimmers had a tight training period from their last meet in Kamloops six weeks ago.
“B.C. is very strong in terms of swimming,” she said. “We are up against some of the best in the country.”
This weekend KISU is hosting a February Fling beginning Friday at 5:15 to approximately 9 p.m. and wrapping up Sunday at noon. The meet features swimmers in the lower levels competing in heats in the morning and finals in the evening. KISU has several swimmers aiming to achieve AA times.
“That’s one of our real big goals,” said Hoeben. “Qualify for provincials at the end of February.”