Coming home from a meet with medals is always great, but the jingle of cash in your pocket is pretty sweet too.
Glacier Bears swimmer Haley Braga not only won hardware at the BC Long Course AAA Championships last weekend in Kamloops, BC, the 13-year-old also received a prestigious award accompanied by a small cash prize.
Finishing in the top-10 in all her races – including a bronze in the 400-metre freestyle in the girls 13-14 category – Braga earned the Regional Age Group Development Award for SwimBC’s northwest region, which includes the Yukon, and a cheque for $125 by having the strongest overall results from the region’s age-group swimmers.
“One of her strengths is training ethics. She trains very hard, gives 100 per cent in every workout,” said Glacier Bears head coach Marek Poplawski. “She’s a real hard worker and athlete, and it shows.
“She’s best in middle distance freestyle, so 200-, 400-, 800-metre are her best events.
“She’s improving in every meet, going faster and faster. So hopefully she’ll keep doing that and will be one of our next generation of top swimmers.”
In the freestyle events, Braga came fourth in the 100-, fifth in the 200- and sixth in the 800-metre. She also came eighth in the 200-metre backstroke and butterfly, setting a new Bears club record in the latter.
However, Braga was not the only Glacier Bear to reach the podium.
Whitehorse’s Alexandra Gabor missed the gold in only one of her five races in the girls 16-and-over division, taking silver in the 100-metre butterfly. A freestyle specialist, her four golds came in the 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-metre events in that discipline.
Focusing on the Summer National Championships in Victoria at the end of the month, which could lead to a spot at the Pan-Pacific Championships, Gabor maintained a full training schedule up to meet, instead of resting to maximize her performance.
“I wasn’t rested and (my training) was tapered, it was just a meet to get in some racing, get in some long course,” said Gabor. “So they weren’t particularly fast times, it was more a warm-up for nationals at the end of the month.
“I feel pretty good, but I still have a few things to work on. My speed wasn’t really there, but it’s not supposed to be when I’m training really hard.
“To see what I still need to work on (the meet) was good.”
Also bring hardware back to the territory was Isabel Parkkari, winning silver in the 800-metre freestyle for girls 13-14. She also came fourth in the 400-metre free.
Taking in some top-10 results and getting some long-course personal bests were Glacier Bears Erin McArthur in the girls 12-and-under and Taylor Campbell in the girls 13-14.
McArthur finished sixth in the 100-metre breaststroke and seventh in the 200-metre. She also came ninth in the 100-metre freestyle and 10th in the individual medley preliminary races.
Campbell reached ninth place in the 200-metre backstroke and 11th in the 800-metre freestyle preliminary races.
Parkkari, Braga and McArthur will be traveling to Winnipeg this weekend to compete in the Canadian Age-Group Nationals.
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