Whitehorse Glacier Bear Haley Braga was the only Yukon swimmer out of 1,700 of the nation’s best at the Canadian Age Group Championships over the weekend in Montreal.
Though the only competitor from her club, the 14-year-old swam fast enough to alter its record book in Whitehorse.
Besides producing personal best times in all but one event, Braga set two Glacier Bear club record, bringing her total up to six on the season.
“All together, it was a great performance,” said Glacier Bears head coach Marek Poplawski. “I think this was very good. It’s close to the end of the season – we just have the Western Canada Games – so I think it was excellent meet for her.
“I’m pretty sure she’s very happy about it.”
In the 14-year-old girls division, Braga took 16th in the 200-metre butterfly in two minutes, 33.94 seconds, and 22nd in the 200-metre backstroke in 2:34.10, for her two club records.
“The 200 fly was her best swim, in my opinion,” said Poplawski. “The 200 fly is a very tough event, so I think she should be happy about it.”
Her other results were 25th in the 200 free (2:14.65), 29th in the 100 free (1:03.50) and 30th in the 400 free (4:49.87).
At last year’s Age Group Championships Braga came eighth in the 400-metre and 10th in the 800-metre freestyle events.
Glacier Bear teammates Isabel Parkkari and Erin McArthur both qualified for the meet, but decided to sit it out.
McArthur and Braga will be on board Team Yukon at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, BC, in a little over a week.
“We have one week of training and then it’s Kamloops, then she has to think about what should be her goals for next season,” said Poplawski.
Braga produced her club’s best results at the BC Provincial AAA Long Course Championships last month, taking fourth in the 200-metre backstroke and setting a club record. The previous year she won a bronze in the 400 free.
At the BC AAA Provincial Short Course Championships in March, Braga made two finals with seventh and eighth place finishes.
The Western Canada Games is Poplawski’s final meet as head coach for the Glacier Bears, after which he plans to move to Kelowna, BC.
Since joining the club in 2004, Poplawski has coached swimmers to 886 club records, oversaw the Yukon’s first ever medals in swimming at the Canada Summer Games in 2009, and has helped two of the club’s top swimmers, Alexander Gabor and Bronwyn Pasloski, to full scholarships at NCAA schools, to list a few accomplishments.
“I was coaching here for seven years, so this has been a long stretch, and we’ve had some really good results here, with swimmers on the national team – senior and junior,” said Poplawski. “I’m really happy with the accomplishments of the club and myself as a coach.”
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