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Yukon athletes impress at swimming championships

2023 Speedo Canadian event held in Toronto
The 2023 Speedo Canadian Swimming Championships was held in Toronto from Aug 1. to 6 (Courtesy/Swimming Canada) The 2023 Speedo Canadian Swimming Championships was held in Toronto from Aug. 1 to 6 (Courtesy/Renee Kardash)

The Yukon was well-represented at the 2023 Speedo Canadian Swimming Championships.

The competition was held at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC) from Aug. 1-6.

Thomas Gishler and Thomas Bakica, two members of the Whitehorse Glacier Bears (WGB) club, represented the club at the competition. Gishler, 18, competed in the 16-18 age group, while Bakica, 20 and a member of the Simon Fraser University varsity team, competed in the 19 and older age group.

Glacier Bears alumna Amelia Barrault, 19, also competed as a member of the University of British Columbia swim team in the 18 and older age group.

Gishler finished 18th in the 400m freestyle, 16th in the 1500m freestyle and 12th in the 800m freestyle. The Glacier Bears said the 1500m freestyle is regarded as one of the most challenging races for swimmers, and each swimmer has the ability to develop their own strategy.

“It’s a distance race that requires a lot of strategy, pacing per 50m or 100m, consistent turns, streamlines, stroke technique, breathing patterns and strength,” the swim club said in a Facebook post.

Glacier Bears’ head coach Bronwyn Pasloski said all times were season bests for Gishler.

Bakica, who was recently named Simon Fraser University’s swim team captain for the 2023-2024 school year, finished 21st in the 50m breaststroke.

Barrault finished 16th in the 100m breaststroke, ninth in the 400m medley, 12th in the 200m medley and eighth in the 200m breaststroke.

Yukon siblings Kassua and Tuja Dreyer, who recently participated in the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), also competed at the championships in Toronto.

Tuja, 15, won two medals — a silver in the 400m individual medley and a bronze in the 50m butterfly at the competition. Kassua, 18, is a student at the University of Calgary and represents the university’s swim club, while Tuja lives in Victoria, where he attends Claremont Secondary School.

Pasloski said the competition is a tough meet and contending for medals is very challenging.

“We had some really good swims across the board. Both [Gishler and Bakica] were close to their personal best times and we are very excited for their results,” she said. “ I also think they were satisfied with their performances.”

Pasloski said the athletes have started preparation for the coming school year.

“Our club is quite young and most of my athletes are 16 years old or younger,” she said. “They are just learning the world of being competitive athletes and we are going to see a lot of progress for everyone across the board next season.”

At the club in Whitehorse, Pasloski said her role is to provide overall scheduling and structure for the club with athletes ranging from as young as six years old up to 20.

“Our primary focus is to be able to support athletes to be able to develop their capacity in swimming and to be able to lead them to higher levels of competitive competition within the sports,” she said. “Our big goal is to be able to support our athletes in having the opportunity to train at the university level programs.”

Contact Patrick Egwu at

Patrick Egwu

About the Author: Patrick Egwu

I’m one of the newest additions at Yukon News where I have been writing about a range of issues — politics, sports, health, environment and other developments in the territory.
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