Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club athletes were winning hardware on both sides of the border last weekend.
At two separate meets, the Christmas Cracker in Victoria and the Paul Bergen Jr. Championships in Portland, Oregon, the Bears totaled 10 medals, including four silver and five gold, set meet records and registered 85 personal best times.
“I think it was a really good lead-up meet (to the season) for a lot of the kids,” said Glacier Bears coach Kathy Zrum. “There were like 600 swimmers there, so there were long days, but the kids rose to the occasion and they were all so supportive of each other and cheering each other on.”
Bringing in the bulk of the hardware was Alexandra Gabor in Victoria. Not only did Gabor win gold medals in the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-metre freestyle events, she set meet records in each. Best known for her prowess in freestyle events, Gabor also won a gold in the 100-metre butterfly and silver in both the 50-metre butterfly and the 50 free.
“It was really great to have her at the meet as a member of the Glacier Bears team,” said Zrum. “She went out and bought a whole bunch of candy canes and every time the other swimmers got a best time she gave them candy canes. The kids really liked that.
“It was great role-modeling to have her there. It was inspiring for everybody.”
Competing south of the border on TeamBC, Whitehorse’s Bronwyn Pasloski reached the finals of every event she swam in, winning silver in the 100- and 200-metre breaststroke along the way. Like Gabor, Pasloski also had strong performances outside of her specialty event, the breaststroke, taking fifth in the in the 200-metre individual medley and eight in the 400-metre individual medley, setting a Glacier Bears club record.
“That was the first time I ever did an A-final swim in my individual medley events, so that was good,” said Pasloski. “Everyone was tired at the end, so it was hard to tough it out.
“I personally really like doing (the individual medley). When I get the chance I love doing everything else; I don’t like just sticking with breaststroke, although I managed to be quite good at that one.
“I’ve been trying to focus on a little bit of everything, keeping my variety up, because I feel the best swimmers are the ones that can do everything.”
Pasloski was also sixth in the 50-metre breaststroke and 14th in the 100-metre freestyle.
Back in Victoria, the Bears’ lone bronze medal came from swimmer Hailey Braga in the 100-metre freestyle for girls 12-and-under. She also finished sixth in the 200-, 400- and 800-metre freestyle, and eighth in the 50-metre butterfly and the 100-metre backstroke.
“She’s a really focused, dedicated swimmer who has some goals that she wants to achieve,” said Zrum. “She finaled in a lot of events, so she was swimming finals every night. What was amazing for her was she bettered her times in all the finals, from her preliminary time. So in the preliminaries she has faster times and in the finals she had even faster times.”
Other appearances in the finals for the Bears came from Erin McArthur reaching sixth in the 50- and 100-metre breaststroke and seventh in the 200 breaststroke for the 11-12 division. Isabel Parkkari finished seventh in the 800 free, and eighth in the 1500 free for girls 13-14. In the same age group Nadia Petriw reached the finals in the 50 free, taking eighth place, while teammate Taylor Campbell placed eighth in the 800 free.
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