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Swimmers from qathet region enter Vancouver Island competitions

West Coast Wind swim club members have great results in three meets
TOP-PLACE FINISHES: West Coast Wind swim club members [from left] Gabe Mussellam, Ayva Gunther and Saphire Mitchell attended a swim meet in Campbell River, where they had excellent performances. Mussellam and Gunther both beat their competitors in gruelling elimination races, which had them in the pool repeatedly, covering 50-metre distances, with little rest between heats.

West Coast Wind swim club members have represented the qathet region in three competitive swim meets this fall, resulting in some personal best times and top-place finishes.

Head coach Marissa Schweitzer said on October 15, the club was in Comox for a day meet, with seven competitors travelling. On November 20, 10 members of the club travelled to Comox for another meet. On the November 26 and 27 weekend, three competitors travelled to Campbell River.

“At each of these meets, our athletes achieved amazing best times, and handfuls of top 10 placements,” said Schweitzer. “At the Campbell River meet, we got to take part in a special competition that happens at occasional meets called an eliminator. Essentially what this additional competition means is that athletes swim their initial 50-metre freestyle race. Then, the top six swimmers 12 and under, the top six girls 13-plus and the top six boys 13-plus are singled out.”

Schweitzer said at the end of the day, after competing for multiple hours that day, these 18 athletes were asked to meet behind the blocks again. The six mixed-gender 12 and under race 50-metre freestyle and the person who places sixth is eliminated. Then, the girls 13-plus do the same thing, then the boys 13-plus do it, too.

“These three heats end up racing over and over again with one person in each heat being eliminated each time,” said Schweitzer. “This is a fluid competition, so the only rest these athletes get is when the other two heats race, which adds to approximately one minute and maybe 30 seconds between each race – this is not very much rest.”

“So, after five races, there is a winner in each category. [West Coast] Wind had all three of their attending swimmers who went to this meet make it into the eliminator challenge.”

Schweitzer said Ayva Gunther and Saphire Mitchell each held places in the 13-plus girls heat, and Gabe Mussellam held a place in the 12 and under category. The eliminator challenge ended with Gunther winning the girls 13-plus heat and Mussellam winning the 12 and under heat.

“This is huge, so out of three total winners, the Wind had two of these spots,” said Schweitzer. “It was a really amazing experience and it felt great to make a noticeable impact in the region.”

The next meet for the swim club will be in Victoria on December 9 to 11.