Glacier Bears show no fear at B.C. championships

A lack of long-course experience didn't prevent five Whitehorse Glacier Bears swimmers from successes at the B.C. AA Long Course Championships in Victoria last weekend.

A lack of long-course experience didn’t prevent five Whitehorse Glacier Bears swimmers from successes at the B.C. AA Long Course Championships in Victoria last weekend.

The swimmers, all of whom were competing at the championships for the first time, collected two medals, set three club records and reached a bevy of finals.

“I was very, very proud at the end of the day that all of them showed up and did such a great job,” said Glacier Bears coach Kayla Yeulet. “A lot of them were very intimidated before being there – it’s a big pool and there were a lot of swimmers.

“So I was really impressed by all of them. They all stood up and did such a good job, accepted the challenge.”

The five Glacier Bears – Emily Crist, Celeste Findlay, Rennes Lindsay, Taylor Harvey and Matthew Blakesley – were all competing at their first AA championships and their first competition in a long-course pool.

Lindsay, the youngest Glacier Bear at the championships, also had to contend with the fact she was a nine-year-old competing in an 11-and-under division. But that didn’t prevent her from winning silver in the 200-metre butterfly, setting a new Glacier Bears club record of three minutes, 13.78 seconds. She gave a personal best time in preliminaries and then shaved off another two seconds in the final to achieve a AAA time.

“She’s such a little tank, she can just keep going no matter what. It was really impressive,” said Yeulet. “The 200-metre fly long course is completely different than in short course.

“She was definitely intimidated and nervous, so we just told her to go out and have fun with it … And she went out and loved it.”

Lindsay also shaved 43 seconds off her 400-metre individual medley time en route to taking fifth place. Her time of 6:40.47 was another club record.

Harvey, who swam to top-16 results in all but one of her events, won bronze in the 100-metre backstroke for 12-year-old girls. Her time was 1:21.32.

“That was a really great race for Taylor,” said Yeulet. “In the prelim and she was like, ‘How do I go faster? I want to get my AAA – I want to do it!’ So we talked about going out and not being afraid of really pushing it in the beginning. A lot of swimmers tend to hold back to save it for the end and we talked about not being afraid to charge in the first half of the race. And she really did that – she did that really well. No fear – she swam out as hard as she could in the first 50 and held it in the second.”

Findlay, like Lindsay, had a record-setting outing, breaking the Glacier Bears record in the 200-metre breaststroke for girls 11-and-under with a time of 3:35.79. She also placed 10th in the 200-metre individual medley and 50-metre freestyle. Her best result was sixth in the 100-metre freestyle.

Despite suffering a shoulder injury a few weeks before the championships, Crist reached a personal best time in the 100-metre freestyle to take 21st in girls 13-and-older. Crist’s highest placement was 13th in the 100-metre butterfly.

Blakesley made finals in half of his six events. He raced to seventh in the 200-metre freestyle and eighth in the 100-metre freestyle for boys 11-and-under.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com