What a difference a year makes.
After returning home with no medals at last year’s B.C. AAs, Whitehorse Glacier Bears swimmer Thomas Gishler had a whole different experience this time around.
The 11-year-old collected four medals at the 2017 B.C. AA Swim Championships in Chilliwack, Feb. 16-19.
Topping the list was a gold medal in the 400-metre individual medley in the boys 11-and-under division, finishing with a time of six minutes and 5.51 seconds.
“I had a plan and I followed it and I took off 18 seconds (from my personal best), so that was pretty good,” said Gishler. “I tried to get more dolphin kicks off each wall and tried to get a little faster every 100.”
Gishler, who says he’s been working on technique lately, posted personal best times in all six of his events at the short-course championship.
He also won silver in the 200-metre butterfly (3:06.49), shaving about four seconds off his previous best.
Also in butterfly — his favourite stroke — he won bronze in the 100-metre event at 1:22.85.
Both times in the butterfly events mark new Glacier Bears club records.
Gishler picked up a second bronze in the 400-metre freestyle (5:28.63) and placed fifth in the 200-metre medley (2:59.70).
It’s the most medals Gishler has won at a meet outside Yukon.
“It was really busy and the warm-ups were crowded,” said Gishler of the meet that saw over 500 swimmers compete.
Gishler wasn’t the only Whitehorse swimmer to reach the podium in Chilliwack.
Teammate Luke Bakica picked up silver in the 200-metre breaststroke at 2:34.55 — a new club record — in the boys 14-and-over division.
Bakica also placed fourth in the 100 breast at 1:11.31, just 0.03 seconds behind the bronze winner.
He set a second club record in the 200 medley preliminary at 2:24.50, and went on the place 13th in the final.
Other Glacier Bears results include: Emma Boyd fifth in the 50 free (28.54) for girls 14-and-over; Alexander Petriw 13th in the 1,500-metre free (18:20.17) for boys 14-and-over; Aidan Harvey 16th in the 100 back (1:08.24) for boys 14-and-over; and Amelia Ford 21st in the 50 free (30.86) for girls 12-13.
With the team’s performance last weekend, the Glacier Bears now have five swimmers who qualify for the B.C. AAAs in two weeks with Gishler, Bakica, Cassis Lindsay, Rennes Lindsay and Hannah Kingscote all making the cut. Only Kingscote plans to compete at the meet in Victoria.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com