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Aquanauts make podium splash

Larry Fisher
Friday June 15, 2007
Lloydminster Meridian Booster

Father’s Day may be Sunday, but the Lloydminster Aquanauts plan on giving their dads a gift of gold during Saturday’s annual Father’s Day Weekend Swim Meet at the Lloydminster Leisure Centre.

If the Aquanauts first meet of the season in Vermilion was any indication, the club will have plenty to celebrate and the dads at poolside will be in for a treat. They returned home from Vermilion with 54 personal bests and 10 medals – including five gold – in 85 swims this past weekend.

“For our first competition, the kids all did exceptionally well,” said Aquanauts co-coach Amber Miller, who works primarily with the beginner group. “There are a few little things we need to clean up on, but other than that they did great, especially the younger kids who were swimming in their very first meet.”

One such newcomer to the competitive side of things is Kelsey Rish. The 12-year-old, entering her second season with the club, made her debut in Vermilion and enjoyed every minute of it.

“It was kind of tricky because it was my first time racing with lots of other people from other cities,” said Rish, who competed in the 50-metre breaststroke, 50-metre freestyle, and 200-metre freestyle events. “It was lots of fun trying to figure out what other people did and then learning from them to help improve my own times.”

While Rish and others were merely soaking up the experience, the older Aquanauts went into Vermilion with high expectations, and for the most part were able to achieve them.

Jonathon Smyth and Jessica Kelly both swam to ‘A’ times, qualifying them for the Alberta Summer Swim Association’s all-star team, which will compete in Edmonton at the Long Course Provincial Championships in July. Among the other highlights were Keeley Mokelky and Haley Howland tying for gold in the 17-and-over girls category, while Cory Totman stood alone atop the podium in the 17-and-over boys division.

“We always expect to have good results with our more veteran kids,” said Aquanauts coach Tyler Totman. “It was a decent warm-up meet for them, they were all pretty impressive. It’s hard to single any one person out this time, but it was nice to see Keeley and Haley – best friends – sharing the gold.”

The Aquanauts are preparing for a much bigger test at their home meet, however. A majority of the senior swimmers from other clubs opted out of last weekend’s season opener, and instead concentrated on the Border City competition. There were four clubs and about 90 swimmers in Vermilion, and Totman is expecting double that in Lloydminster with eight clubs and more than 220 swimmers registered.

“It is usually a really big starting meet, and the first of the really senior-focused meets,” said Totman, adding it will be the Aquanauts first look at their perennial rivals from the Edmonton Huma Huma Swim Club. “It is always a great competition when Edmonton comes out. They are bringing 40 swimmers to this meet, which is more than we even have in our club, so it will be really interesting going up against them.

“We are still expecting big things from a lot of kids, because this is their home pool and it is their best shot to get good PBs heading into the rest of the year.”

The meet gets underway at 9 a.m. and runs until about 5 p.m.

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