Christmas came early for the Glacier Bears Swim Club.
The Whitehorse club produced a total of 38 top-20 results, not including the relays, at the 11th annual Christmas Cracker Invitational Swim Meet, hosted by Victoria’s Pacific Coast Swimming last weekend.
A total of 11 Whitehorse swimmers attended the short-course competition that saw two achieve AA times and four top-10 placements.
Glacier Bear Matthew Blakesley was a standout in the boys 12-and-under division. Blakesley logged personal best times in every event and produced a slew of AA qualifying times.
“He did amazing,” said Glacier Bears head coach Stephanie Dixon. “Matt has been working really, really hard this year. He had a couple things from last season that he was really trying to improve … and a lot of them were technical things. In the first two meets (off the season) he didn’t see a lot time being taken off, but he improved in his technique, which will help you in the long run
“Now it’s showing that the hard work is paying off.”
Blakesley placed sixth in 50-metre breaststroke (43.50), seventh in the 50-metre butterfly (37.06) and seventh in the 200-metre breaststroke (3:25.16), dropping 6.35 seconds from his qualifying time in the 200.
He also claimed 13th in the 100-metre freestyle, 13th in the 50-metre freestyle and 14th in the 200-metre individual medley with a time of 2:57.84, cutting 7.82 seconds off his time.
Whitehorse’s Haley Braga was the team’s most veteran swimmer at the meet. Competing in the women 15-and-over division, the 15-year-old took seventh in the 200 fly, 13th in the 50 back, 15th in the 100 fly, and 16th in 200 back and the 100 back.
“It was awesome that Haley was there with our younger swimmers,” said Dixon. “She was an amazing team leader, as always, and she worked hard to mentor the younger swimmers. That was kind of the highlight of her meet.”
Luke Bakica, the other Whitehorse swimmer to register AA times, had six top-20 results in boys 12-and-under.
Bakica placed 11th in the 100 breast and the 100 free, 12th in 200 free, and 14th in the 50 free. He also shaved 24.31 seconds off his time for 13th in 400 free and 8.30 seconds off for 13th in the 200 IM.
Thomas Bakica, a nine-year-old in the boys 12-and-under division, had four top-20 finishes. He placed 16th in the 50 back, 20th in the 100 breast, 19th in the 50 breast, and 15th in the 200 breast, cutting 27.98 seconds off his qualifying time in the 200.
Teammate Aiden Harvey also outpaced a lot of older competitors. The 10-year-old in boys 12-and-under came 18th in the 50 back and 20th in the 100 fly.
Taylor Harvey, in girls 12-and-under, swam to 15th in the 50 back, 16th in the 50 fly, 18th in the 100 fly, 20th in the 100 back and 20th in 200 back, cutting 10.60 off her qualifying time in the last one.
In girls 13-14, Dannica Nelson took 15th in 50 fly, 15th in the 50 free, 16th in the 100 back and 17th in 100 free.
Benjamin Janzen, in boys 13-14 division, reach the top-20 in three events, all with personal best times. Janzen swam to 15th in 50 back and 20th in 200 back and the 100 fly.
Other Whitehorse swimmers at the meet included Emily Crist, taking 31st in the 50 fly and 32nd in the 100 back for girls 13-14 division; Caelon Workman, placing 46th in the 50 breast for girls 12-and-under; and Shailyn Moore, with 47th in the 50 breast in girls 12-and-under.
“I was really proud of all of my swimmers,” said Dixon. “We always have the smallest team, but we have the strongest team spirit. They support each other and I’m always really proud to be their coach.”
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