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Aquanauts swim to provincials

Josh Aldrich
Wednesday August 18, 2004
Lloydminster Meridian Booster

It has been a big year for the Lloydminster Aquanauts – but they have possibly saved their best for the last two meets of the season.

This past weekend they cleaned up at regionals in Edmonton, collecting 34 medals between 12 swimmers, all of which have now qualified for provincials this weekend in Edmonton.

“I knew we were going to do well, and I knew just about everybody would make it to provincials,” said co-coach Kierstin Smyth. “But there were a lot of surprises and some really close races that some of them pulled off and some of them didn’t. Just about everybody had personal bests and that’s the main thing, the medals are really awesome to come away with that many.

“As far as I can remember this is probably one of our largest medal totals. Of our 14 swimmers … 12 of them are going on to provincials in something at least.”

Leading the way for the Aquanauts was Jessica Kelly who collected four gold in the girls 13 and 14 100-metre freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and the 50-metre freestyle. In doing so she also set new provincial records in the 100-metre butterfly and 100-metre backstroke.

“It’s pretty big (heading into finals),” said Kelly. “I was happy with the records I got, I didn’t expect all of the medals I did. It’s a big step to be at the bottom of the age group and win some medals.”

It has been a big season for the 14-year-old from Kitscoty. She also swam at the Junior Nationals in Winnipeg earlier this month, qualifying for one final.

“It was great, I enjoyed it a lot,” said Kelly. “I had a lot of good experiences. I got like 19 and 17 in most of them, but in my backstroke I made it to the final and I got eighth place.”

Kelly now has her sights set on setting a new 50-metre freestyle record at provincials. But she has been just part of the story for the Aquanauts this season.

Jonathan Smyth had another big meet, collecting gold in the 15 and 16 boys 400 and 200-metre freestyle and silver in the 100-metre backstroke and freestyle.

Another storyline for the swim club was that of Brayden Wells who has swam well since recovering from a broken leg – suffered in a ‘theatrical accident’ – before the start of the season. Wells went on to win gold in the 11 and 12 boys 100-metre freestyle, silver in 50-metre backstroke and 50-metre freestyle, as well as gold in the 13 and under 200-metre freestyle.

“I’m just trying to train hard (for provincials),” said Wells. “It’s just really phenomenal going to provincials, representing Region ‘C’ – I’m just speechless, it’s just great going there.

“At the beginning of this year I missed a couple of meets because I broke my leg. In my first couple of meets I got more competition than I thought and I’m just really happy I came out with a couple of medals.”

The rest of the medal haul came from Britt Wells with gold in the six-and-under girls 25-metre butterfly, backstroke, freestyle, and the 50-metre freestyle; Renee Neufeld earned silver in the girls eight and under 25-m butterfly, and Bonze in 100-metre IM; Brianna Wells took home silver in the nine and 10 girls 100-metre IM, freestyle, 50-metre freestyle; Luke Muyres won bronze in the nine and 10 boys 25-metre butterfly; Stephanie Lacey won bronze in the 13 and 14 200-metre IM; Keeley Mokelky earned silver in the girls 13 and 14 400-metre freestyle and /ronze in 800-metre freestyle; AJ Mokelky brought back silver in the 13 and 14 boys 100-metre breaststroke and bronze in 200-metre IM; Haley Howland earned silver in the 15 and 16 girls 100-metre breaststroke and 200-metre IM, and bronze in the 50-metre butterfly; and finally David Saunders won brought home a bronze medal in the 17 and over boys 100-metre breaststroke.

It is a group Smyth is expecting big things out of at provincials this weekend.

“We have a couple of our swimmers that are definitely looking to medal at provincials,” said the coach. “The other ones, if they’re not close they can better their times and that’s a step forward. If they can keep doing that pretty soon they’ll all have provincial medals.”

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