Lloydminster Aquanaut Newspaper Articles.
Smyth, Kelly fill pool with medals
Friday August 25, 2006
Lloydminster Meridian Booster
Coming off one of their all-time best showings at regionals, Lloydminster Aquanauts
coach Tyler Totman set the bar high heading into this past weekend’s Alberta
Summer Swimming Association Provincial Meet in Calgary. He benchmarked their performance
at eight individual medals, saying that would be a phenomenal haul for only sending
11 swimmers. But lo and behold his clubmates nearly doubled that total, bringing
home 14 individual medals as well as two relay medals.
“We actually exceeded my expectations by a fair margin and really racked
up the medals at provincials,” said Totman, who accounted for one medal
of his own – a bronze in the boys’ 17-and-over 100-metre backstroke.
“A lot of our kids stepped it up when the pressure was on and swam their
way to the podium, which was just awesome to watch.”
In what has become a trend all year long, two Aquanauts distanced themselves from
Jonathan Smyth ended his Aquanauts career on a memorable note; by winning
four gold medals, setting three club records, and was awarded the trophy for 2006
ASSA Most Outstanding Male Swimmer – the first Aquanaut to do so since Hobie
Horton back in 1985.
“Jonathan has had an outstanding year,” said Totman, adding Smyth
now has his sights set on making the University of Alberta’s swim team this
fall. “He changed up the way he trained, instead of two one-hour blocks
per day he did one two-hour block, and that really worked wonders for his endurance
and put a lot more focus on building natural speed in him.”
Jessica Kelly also came up big in Calgary, adding yet another provincial record
to her growing collection, and also came away with four medals – two gold
and two silver. With her time of 1:09.14 in the 100-metre backstroke event, Kelly
officially became the fastest female backstroker in summer swimming history.
“Jessica got out of the blocks super fast and she brought it home just
as fast, she didn’t die out at all, and it was just another phenomenal race
into the record books for her,” said Totman, noting Kelly’s provincial
record in the 200-metre individual medley set two weeks ago at regionals actually
fell again at provincials to Elaine Gross, the gold medallist out of the Huma
Huma Swim Club in Edmonton.
While most of her Aquanaut teammates have since dried off and put away their
caps until next spring, Kelly is still in the pool preparing for winter club tryouts
as she will audition for Sherwood Park’s world-renowned Silver Tide Swim
Club in the coming weeks.
“It is a very high-performance club. At the last age group championships
they won top team under 75 members in the province of Alberta and one of the Silver
Tide’s swimmers is also a member of Team Canada,” said Totman. “If
Jessica does in fact catch on there, training year-round with that kind of talent
pushing her to get better, she will definitely develop into an elite-calibre swimmer.”
Kelly’s influence is already rubbing off and is part of the reason for
the Aquanauts’ substantial improvement over last year’s showing at
both regionals and provincials – climbing from outside the Top 20 to within
striking distance of the Top 10 summer clubs in Alberta over the course of a single
Britt Wells also medalled in three events at provincials – taking silver
in the girls’ eight-and-under 50-metre freestyle, bronze in the 25-metre
freestyle, and bronze in the 100-metre individual medley. Meanwhile, Natasha Pidkowa
rounded out the Aquanauts’ individual medallists with a gold and club record
in the girls’ 17-and-over 100-metre breaststroke as well as a bronze in
the 50-metre butterfly. Pidkowa also teamed up with Kelly, Keeley Mokelky, and
Brianna Wells to win gold and set a new club record in the girls’ 17-and-over
freestyle relay as well as a bronze and club record in the medley relay.