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Glacier Bears grab 11 medals at B.C. championships

Five swimmers from the Whitehorse Glacier Bears had such a profitable weekend, it took a while for it to fully dawn on head coach Malwina Bukszowana. "Wow, I can not believe it," she said in an email to reporters.

Five swimmers from the Whitehorse Glacier Bears had such a profitable weekend, it took a while for it to fully dawn on head coach Malwina Bukszowana.

“Wow, I can not believe it,” she said in an email to reporters. “I did not realize how many medals and finals they made until doing this report.”

The Whitehorse swimmers collected four gold, five silver and two bronze, set five club records and logged seven AAA times at the 2014 SwimBC Long Course AA Championships in Victoria.

“Kids were very excited and well organized. They all knew their plan for each race, the skills to focus on and they were hungry for more medals and best times. They surprised me a lot,” said Bukszowana. “I knew we will swim well, but I would never expect them to be so much faster. Best times were smashed by a few seconds on every shorter race and close to a minute in any longer events. Great meet for everybody.”

Whitehorse’s Alex Petriw won enough medals to make it dangerous to swim while wearing them.

The 11-year-old, swimming in his first long course AAs, won gold in the 200-metre freestyle, 400 free and 800 free. He also swam to silver in the 100 free.

“I was pretty amazed to be in finals in all my races, and I medaled in four of those races,” said Petriw. “I was pretty happy about that. The two others that I didn’t medal in, I still got my AAA times standards for my age group, which is pretty cool.”

“All three were pretty amazing to get,” he added of his golds. “I thought I worked hard for it. It was a good achievement to have.”

Petriw also posted two Glacier Bears records for boys 11-12, swimming the 400 free in 5:41.65 and the 800 free in 12.09.63.

“I had no idea I set those,” said Petriw. “I only found out when I was at the airport on the way back.”

Teammate Meghan Pennington also raked in the hardware. The 11-year-old pocketed silvers in the 200 and 400 free, and the 200-metre backstroke. She also added a bronze in the 50 free.

“Megan Pennington barely qualified for this meet, but by the end of this weekend, she was one of the medals collectors, like a queen of the pool,” said Bukszowana. “Great improvement during the entire year. I can say she is the most improved female swimmer in my squad.”

Whitehorse’s Hannah Kingscote got the full set in Victoria. The 12-year-old snagged gold in the 100-metre butterfly, silver in the 200 back and bronze in the 100 back. She was edged out of a fourth medal, placing fourth in the 100-metre individual medley.

Kingscote etched her name in the record book, setting club records for girls 11-12 in the 50 back (36.81), 100 back (1:15.06) and 200 back (2:41.34).

“Hannah also showed her potential and also qualified for AAA swim championships,” said Bukszowana. “This girl has a underwater power like a dolphin.”

The two team vets on the trip were 15-year-olds Dannica Nelson and Emily Crist.

Crist came sixth in the 50 free, 12th in the 100 free, and 16th in the 200 and 400 free.

Nelson made four B finals, placing 10th in the 100 free, 12th in the 200-metre breaststroke and 14th in the 200 free and 100 breast.

“Emily qualified for her first-ever A final at AA championships. She was very excited for her 50 free and also used her underwater power and improved her times even more,” said Bukszowana.

“Dannica, the most experience swimmer from our team at AA, was a great support for younger friends. She had a good 100 free where we could see how powerful she can be. She has a lot of strength and there is lots in her to come out and I think she can be very fast.”

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears had seven swimmers qualify for the B.C. AAAs, but only three will compete at the championship July 3-6 in Victoria.

Contact Tom Patrick at