Lloydminster Aquanaut Newspaper Articles.
Aquanauts win home meet
Wednesday June 20, 2007
Lloydminster Meridian Booster
For being a relatively small swim team, the Aquanauts pack quite the punch.
This past weekend with eight different clubs and more than 220 swimmers in
town for the Aquanauts annual meet, it was the hometown swimmers that came out
on top with seven medallists and several new club records.
“The fact we only sent 26 swimmers was the most impressive part,”
said coach Tyler Totman. “Twenty-six swimmers managed to win our meet.”
Two of the club records that fell were long-standing records that date back
almost 30 years – 17 and over girls 50-metre butterfly (1972) and the 100-metre
backstroke (1980) – and both were taken over by Haley Howland.
“It was awesome,” said Howland, 18. “It felt good inside
knowing I could still train hard and be successful. I tried it last weekend in
Vermilion but wasn’t successful, but with the home pool advantage I just
Howland’s success was a bit of a surprise. After being a rising star
with the club for a number of years, she took last season off almost entirely
due to it being her Grade 12 year and other commitments. But she couldn’t
deny the draw of the pool.
“I just didn’t have the heart to swim last year,” said Howland.
“But I’ve been working at the pool full-time so I’ve been in
the water a lot more. The first couple of practices were hard to get into, but
I made it, so now I should be good for the rest of the season.”
Cory Totman also set a club record in the 100-metre backstroke. But it wasn’t
standing near as long as the ones Howland beat, as he actually set it last year.
“It was pretty easy, but I enjoy doing it. I didn’t really target
it, but it happens, getting faster is always a goal, so when I (reset a record)
it feels good,” said Cory, who won the 17 and over boys gold and has his
sights set on more medals at provincials.
As always with an Aquanauts meet, Jessica Kelly also showed very well. No provincial
marks fell this past weekend for her, but Totman has the feeling it will only
be a matter of time.
“She had a phenomenal meet. She should be on pace to start beating provincial
records in the next three to four weeks as we do more speed training with her,”
said Totman, noting the 200-metre IM and the 1,500-metre freestyle will be the
likely victims. “I know Jess herself isn’t happy unless she’s
beating provincial records. In her case, setting personal bests and continuing
development, records seem to follow.”
Other medallists included Kelly winning the girls 15 and 16 gold, AJ Mokelky
the boys 15 and 16 silver, Natasha Pidkowa the girls 17 and over silver, Tyler
Totman the boys 17 and over silver, and Hanna Kern-Ali the girls six and under
The older swimmers next meet will be in two weeks in Fort Saskatchewan, and
Totman is expecting even more of a challenge, especially from Edmonton’s
“HUMA being closer to home, you know they’re going to pick it up
a bit. They finished third at our event and they’re a perennial provincial
powerhouse,” said Totman. “And Fort Saskatchewan you know will have
a lot of pressure on themselves to win it.”
The weekend was also an opportunity for the club’s younger swimmers to
get a taste of a big competition as the meet tailored a few events exclusively
towards them. They will have another shot at the competition experience this weekend
in Leduc at the Derrick meet – a meet built around young swimmers.
“For a lot of them it took a lot to go up behind the blocks in their
very first meet, not knowing what to expect,” said coach Keegan Rutherford.
“A lot of our swimmers didn’t even know if they would be able to swim
a full length and were real nervous, so we did a lot to overcome that –
to develop confidence in these swimmers.”
The youth of the club is a strong point as they do their best to eventually
fill the swimming cap of those moving on.
“You can see potential and progression in a lot of them. They may not
look like much of a swimmer at the beginning of the year, but they’ll be
able to swim a couple hundred metres by the end,” said Rutherford.