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Glacier Bears collect 31 medals in Nanaimo

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club had a stupendous weekend in Nanaimo, B.C., and there were plenty of hometown fans there to witness it.

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club had a stupendous weekend in Nanaimo, B.C., and there were plenty of hometown fans there to witness it.

“We’re just so proud of all our swimmers,” said Glacier Bears head coach Stephanie Dixon. “We had 24 swimmers and all their parents, so the stands were filled with Glacier Bear parents, which was really exciting.”

The swim club won a total of 31 medals, but also racked up numerous achievements beyond hardware at the Nanaimo Riptides Spring Sprint Meet on Vancouver Island.

In addition to a bucketload of medals, Whitehorse swimmers set 11 long-course club records at the meet, two swimmers achieved B.C. AA long-course times and an eighth swimmer from the club qualified for the Canada Summer Games this August.

Ten-year-old Thomas Bakica had a lot to do with the above. Bakica won eight medals, including three gold, and set three club records.

He won gold in the 50-metre breaststroke with a new club record of 46.32 seconds and gold in the 100-metre breaststroke with a new club record of 1:41.02. His other club record was in the 200-metre freestyle with a time of 2:51.37, which resulted in a silver.

Bakica also won gold in the 200-metre individual medley, silver in the 100-metre freestyle, and bronze in the 100-metre butterfly, the 100-metre backstroke and the 50-metre butterfly.

Brooklyn Massie, swimming in the 10-and-under girls division, was seriously productive. Massie set B.C. AA long-course times in the 50 free and the 100 free, both resulting in silvers. She won bronze in the 50 back with a time of 42.48 for a club record. Massie also claimed silvers in the 200 free and 200 individual medley, and bronze in the 100 back.

Bakica’s older brother, Luke, broke club records five times at the meet. Swimming in the 11-12 boys division, Luke broke club records in preliminary swims for the 200 breast and the 100 breast and then broke them again in the final, finishing the 200 breast at 3:13.99 and the 100 in the 1:29.91. Both resulted in gold medals.

Luke also swam the 200 free’s preliminary in 2:31.43 for another record but slowed in the final and took fourth. He also snagged silver in the 50 free, and bronze in the 100 fly and 100 free.

Whitehorse’s Matthew Blakesley set his first club record last month and added two more in Nanaimo - both resulting in gold medals. Blakesley set records in the 100 fly at 1:21.09 and the 50 fly at 34:80.

“Matthew Blakesley’s 100 fly was just incredible,” said Dixon. “He was absolutely flying in that. That was definitely a highlight right there.”

He also won silver in the 200 individual medley and bronze in the 100 breast and 100 back in the 11-12 boys division.

Hannah Kingscote, 11, achieved a time to qualify for the B.C. AA Long-Course Championships next month, bringing the number of Glacier Bears who have qualified to nine. Kingscote qualified with both her preliminary and final times in the 100 back, finishing ninth.

One more Whitehorse swimmer set a time to qualify for the Canada Summer Games this August in Sherbrooke, Que. Benjamin Janzen qualified in the 50 free in the 13-14 boys division. He also won bronze in the 100 free.

A total of eight Glacier Bears have now qualified for the Canada Games. There are two more meets - B.C.‘s AA and AAA long-course championships - in which more Whitehorse swimmers can qualify. The official Yukon swim team for the Games will be announced following AAA long-course championships at the start of July.

“Swimmers have the AAs and AAAs left - they’re called ‘last-chance meets,’” said Dixon. “The team was named after the Yukon invitational, but now there’s last-chance meets to fill up any remaining spots and we have tons of remaining spots.”

Other Glacier Bear medal winners include Aidan Harvey with gold in the 100 back and silver in the 50 back in the 10-and-under.

Mael Pronovost swam to silver in the 50 back and bronze in the 50 fly in the boys 11-12 division.

Alexander Petriw picked up bronze in the 50 breast for boys 10-and-under.

Donovan Horvath won silver in the 200 breast for boys 15-16.

“We had three coaches - myself, Kathrine (Zrum) and Shereen Hill - and it was 12-hour days with only a one-hour break for lunch,” said Dixon. “So a huge thank you to the coaching staff for all of their work.

“We’re mostly proud of the attitude our swimmers had at the end. (They were) very, very long sessions, but at the end they still had a positive attitude. They gave 100 per cent.

“It was a great meet.”

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