The only outdoor pool in the territory was the site of fierce competition over the weekend.
Fifty-one swimmers from nine rural Yukon communities competed at the 2014 Swim Yukon Territorial Summer Swim Meet in Mayo.
The Haines Junction Shakwak Sharks took first in the team competition, followed by the Beaver Creek Barracudas in second and the Watson Lake Dynamos in third.
Beaver Creek’s second-place finish is “crazy,” said meet organizer Krista Senez with the Barracudas club.
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“This is the first time Beaver Creek has had a swim meet in nine years.”
Not only was it the first time the Barracudas had a team in almost a decade, the team only had one swimmer.
At the meet swimmers are awarded three points for first place, two for second and one for third. The total points are then divided by the team size to determine final placings.
“Usually it’s Dawson, Watson Lake and Haines Junction that are really competing, because they are the only ones with big enough teams, so all the little communities don’t have a chance,” said Senez. “So we came up with a system of averaging it to give all the teams equal chance.”
Beaver Creek’s one swimmer was seven-year-old Kendra Nieman. She won gold in the freestyle and backstroke, and bronze in the breaststroke, in the seven-and-under age group, the largest group with 11 swimmers.
“She had never been to a swim meet before,” said Senez. “At the beginning of the year she couldn’t swim in the shallow end. She was terrified of the water, in a life jacket, bouncing up and down in the shallow end when I got here. To train her for six weeks, get her to a swim meet, and she’s doing front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, was pretty awesome. To compete against 11 kids and still take first – her mom was thrilled.”
Four swimmers at the meet won gold in all five events (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, individual medley and the butterfly.)
Haines Junction’s Fisher Pasula took five gold in males seven-and-under; Haines Junction’s Jackson Sheardown in males 8-9; Watson Lake’s Adam Cook-Lamha in males 10-11; and Watson Lake’s Cian Hobbis in males 12-15.
Dawson City’s Joy Morin came close with four gold in girls 12-15.
The meet changes locations each year with no club hosting twice within a five-year span.
“It gives other teams a chance to host and other teams a chance to travel,” said Senez.
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