Swimming to silver medals at the national level

Local swim club does coaches, parents proud

Mining silver medals on the national stage in Montreal were the Breakers’ Maran Kokoszka, left, and Laura Romkes.

Mining silver medals on the national stage in Montreal were the Breakers’ Maran Kokoszka, left, and Laura Romkes.

The Ravensong Aquatic Centre (RAC) Breakers’ fab five are back home from the Age Group Championships in Montreal, basking in the glow of two silver medals and a slew of personal best times. 

Played out in Montreal’s Parc Jean Drapeau July 27-31, the national long course speed swimming championships featured 1,700 of the top swimmers in the country representing 189 clubs from all over Canada.

The pool was originally built for 2005 World Aquatic Championships, and the 5k Open Water competition was held Aug. 1 at the Olympic Rowing Basin, which was right next to the pool. 

The Breakers arrived in the city of Saints July 25, and Maran Kokoszka set the bar when carved out a silver medal swim in the Girls 14 year old 200m Backstroke on opening day of the big meet.

According to Breakers’ assistant coach Gary Cheung, who took over from head coach John Campbell to lead the team in Montreal, Maran was seeded 10th going into the final (only top 10 swimmers qualify). 

“In fact, she was seeded last for the final out of 47 swimmers in total of her age group so she had to swim on the far side of the pool (Lane 9),” Gary explained when asked about Maran’s great swim.

“This is what makes it more challenging, because she would not be able to see what was going on or where she was during the race; except that she could only see the girl on her one side.”

Cheung said Maran started off the race staying with the pack and was in fourth place after the first 100 meters. She made her move at the 150m turn, moved up to third place then took over the number two spot down the stretch.

In the end, Paige Kremer from Alberta finished first in 2:19.55, Maran was second in 2:23.86, and Haley Black from Prince George was third in 2:24.31. 

“It was definitely breathtaking to watch her swim,” said Cheung, adding, “she worked the strategy (and) she executed it well. Her silver medal was definitely well-earned.”

Maran also qualified to swim in 100m Backstroke final, in which she finished fourth at 1:07.12 (a personal best time). 

Not to be outdone by her good friend and teammate, Laura Romkes touched the wall for a silver medal in the Girls 15 year old 200m Fly. 

Laura tied for second place with Olivia Feschuk from Halifax with a time of 2:22.24 — a new personal best and Breakers’ record in that category.

Romkes also qualified for her very first Senior National (with the standard of 2:22.83) and as such will be able to attend the Canadian Olympic trials coming up in March 2012.

It was the third time competing in the nationals for both Maran and Laura, and the first time on the podium for both.

Competing in her first national championships, the Breakers’ 11-year-old Megan Romkes turned in a personal best 2:42.26 in the 200m Fly in the preliminary round, which qualified her to swim in 12&U 200m Fly finals. 

In the finals, she swam 2:39.28 (once again breaking her personal record and setting a new club record), to finish eighth overall. 

Megan also swam her personal best time in the 50 Fly (33.40)

Haley Bennett, 11, turned in a PBT of 5:49.96 in the 400IM; and also had personal best times in the 50 Free (31:06), in the 200 Free (2:25.16), and in the 400 Free (5:03.64).

Richelle Bruyckere, 13,  carved out personal best times in the gruelling 1500m freestyle (19:04.87); in the 50 Free (29.45), and in the 800 Free (9:52.18). 

In the open water competition, 211 swimmers tackled the 5k event. Laura finished 16th in her age group 1:08:11.79, and Haley turned in a stellar sixth at 1:11:47.76 in hers.

The Canadian Age Group Championships, said Cheung, “was a great success. The results definitely speak for itself, there’s no doubt those kids worked hard and finished well for this season. John and I were very pleased with the results, especially with the fact that we are a small team, and we had swimmers medalled in this annual big swimming event in Canada. 

“It was a great experience for both the kids and I, that’s for sure,” said Cheung. “We are very proud of our swimmers.”





The Breakers are done for the season, but the coaches are already looking ahead to next year. 

For more information on the local club contact team manager Sandy Kokoszka at kokoszka@shaw.ca.



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