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Glacier Bears sprint to 26 medals in Nanaimo

The Glacier Bears' first appearance at the Nanaimo Riptide Swim Team's Spring Sprint meet was a profitable one. The Whitehorse swim team sent 18 athletes and returned with 26 medals from the meet over the weekend in Nanaimo, B.C.

The Glacier Bears’ first appearance at the Nanaimo Riptide Swim Team’s Spring Sprint meet was a profitable one.

The Whitehorse swim team sent 18 athletes and returned with 26 medals from the meet over the weekend in Nanaimo, B.C.

“For a large majority of the swimmers, it was their first time swimming a long-course swim meet,” said Glacier Bears coach Kat Zrum. “That’s pretty significant, especially for the nine- and 10-year-olds ... I asked them what they thought of it and they said, ‘I love it. We have to do less turns.’ They didn’t find the distance that daunting.”

Eleven-year-old Luke Bakica and 12-year-old Taylor Harvey were at the top of their game in Nanaimo. The two Glacier Bears made the finals in all eight of their events.

“The interesting thing with Taylor and Luke is that when they swam in their finals, they often swam faster than they did in the prelims, which is what you want to see happen,” said Zrum.

Harvey was also one of two Bears to produce long-course Swim B.C. AA qualifying times, in the 100-metre backstroke and the 100-metre freestyle.

The other was 12-year-old Jane Lyon, who achieved a AA swim time in the 200-metre breaststroke.

“Jane Lyon had a really good meet,” said Zrum. “Luke, Taylor and Jane were on fire. They were swimming so well all weekend. Jane, like Taylor, was in a tough age category.”

Bakica, Harvey and Lyon all collected hardware as well. Bakica won gold in the 200-metre individual medley and bronzes in the 100-metre breaststroke, the 50-metre butterfly and the 100-metre freestyle.

Harvey won silver in the 100-metre backstroke and also placed fourth in the 50-metre butterfly.

Lyon snagged silver in the 50-metre breaststroke and came fourth in the 200-metre breaststroke.

Thomas Bakica accumulated the most medals at the meet for Glacier Bears. Competing in the male 10-and-under division, Thomas won silver in the 200-metre individual medley and the 50-metre backstroke, and won five bronzes. The only event he didn’t win a medal in was the 100-metre breaststroke, taking fourth.

Whitehorse’s Taylor Campbell and Erin McArthur had a busy weekend with all the finals they were making.

Campbell reached six finals and won a gold in the 200-metre freestyle, silvers in the 100-metre freestyle and 100-metre backstroke, and bronzes in the 200- and 50-metre backstroke.

McArthur made seven finals and collected four medals. She grabbed gold in the 50-metre breaststroke, silver in the 50-metre backstroke and 100-metre breaststroke and bronze in the 50-metre freestyle.

Also winning medals were Aiden Harvey with silver in the 100 back and bronze in the 50 back, and Benjamin Janzen with bronzes in the 50 back and 100 free.

Other Glacier Bear results include Liam Diamond coming fifth in the 50 fly; Daniel Saunders fifth in the 200 back; Cassidy Cairns sixth in the 100 fly; Donovan Horvath sixth in the 50 back; Hannah Kingscote sixth in the 100 back; Tynan Leong-Best ninth in the 50 fly and 100 back; Brooklyn Massie fifth in the 100 fly; Gavin Young seventh in the 200 free; Amy Vanderkley 13th in the 100 back; and Meghan Birmingham 19th in the 100 back.

The Glacier Bears athletes produced personal best times in 85 per cent of their swims at the Nanaimo meet.

“We had a lot of parent support and the kids were so supportive of each other,” said Zrum. “We were the loudest cheering crew that was there.

“And Nanaimo parents were so impressed that we traveled the distance to go to their swim meet when they heard about the cost the kids and parents have to absorb to go. They were amazed we were down there, and very appreciative that we were there.”

Contact Tom Patrick at