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Alberta wins border battle

Sean Rooney
Booster Sports Editor
Wednesday, July 03, 2002

In the battle between provinces, Alberta reigned supreme this past weekend at the Leisure Centre pool.

The Battle of the Border swim meet brought swimmers from both Alberta and Saskatchewan to Lloydminster, but when the waters had calmed again, the Wild Rose province had the sweet smell of success.

On average, Alberta swimmers won 6.5 points per competitor, compared to 2.0 points per athlete for Saskatchewan. That was good enough to claim victory, but there were smaller victories throughout the weekend as more than 400 swimmers tried for personal bests.

"I didn't know how I was going to do," said Jessica Kelly, a local Aquanauts swimmer who won three gold medals and added a silver to her collection. "I swim better in my home pool, we practice here every day so I'm used to it."

While Kelly's biggest competition in the 11 and 12-year-old girls events came from a familiar face, Fort Saskatchewan's Megan Donner, other swimmers had a chance to see what they were up against from across their respective provinces.
"In our zone there's only four or five people, so we get here and there's 16 or 17 people to race against," said 17-year-old Aquanauts athlete Tyler Totman. "It's what I expected. A lot of competition, people who are healthy."

Totman's best result was a second-place finish in the 100 metre backstroke, but he knows he'll be in much better shape when provincials take place in August.

"I wanted to practise more, but this is grad week," he said. "I had a half an hour in the past three weeks to practise."
From a coaching standpoint, the meet was a blessing. Falling right in the middle of the year, soon after most students are done with school, the Battle of the Border was a solid yardstick for their clubs.

"The only other time we meet people from Alberta is at provincials, so it's kind of nice to see where everybody's at in the middle of the year," said Aquanauts and Alberta Region C coach Colleen Parker.

"I didn't realize we were one of the stronger regions in Alberta, we're doing really well at beating Saskatchewan, and the meet was run smoothly as well, so those were all positives."

When it came right down to the crunch, however, the battle wasn't just about seeing how you were doing in your respective province. Though the Saskatchewan contingent didn't hold a candle to Alberta when the final results were tallied, the provincial rivalry was still evident.

"This is the first time we've competed against Alberta," said 17-year-old Watrous, Sask. swimmer Daniel Veld. "It's more of a competition, you come in not knowing how everybody's going to do."

Local results:

Girls: 11-12 - Jessica Kelly, 2nd in 100 free, 1st in 50 fly, 1st in 50 back, 1st in 50 free; 13-14 - Haley Howland, 13th in 50 fly, 12th in 100 back, 8th in 100 breast, 10th in 200 IM; 17-over - Amanda Bowen, 10th in 100 free, 7th in 100 breast, 13th in 50 free; Kierstin Smyth, 11th in 100 free, 11th in 50 fly, 6th in 100 breast, 11th in 50 free; Robyn Hnatuk, 4th in 50 fly, 6th in 100 back, 2nd in 200 IM, 3rd in 50 free.

Boys: 11-12 - Joseph Cavanagh, 4th in 100 free, 7th in 50 fly, 10th in 50 breast, 7th in 100 IM; 13-14 - Cory Totman, 19th in 100 free, 9th in 100 back, 12th in 100 breast, 12th in 200 IM; Jonathon Smyth, 17th in 200 free, 6th in 100 free, 4th in 100 back, 7th in 200 IM; 17-over - Tyler Totman, 14th in 200 free, 5th in 100 free, 2nd in 100 back, 5th in 50 free.

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