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Glacier Bears team swims to sixth at B.C. championship

It was a weekend of gold and silver for the Glacier Bears in Penticton. The Whitehorse swim club collected 16 medals - all gold and silver - at the 2016 B.C.

It was a weekend of gold and silver for the Glacier Bears in Penticton.

The Whitehorse swim club collected 16 medals - all gold and silver - at the 2016 B.C. AA Swim Championships between Friday and Sunday.

With the medal haul, the Bears rose to sixth out of 38 clubs in the team standings at the short course championship.

“It was great. We were obviously very happy,” said Glacier Bears swimmer Thomas Bakica. “We had 12 people on our team and we got more medals than teams that had 20 or 25 or even 30 people on their team. I think we did really well and I was really happy with all of our performances. It was a great meet.”

“I’m feeling proud of myself, proud of my teammates,” said teammate Aidan Harvey. “It was a great time watching everyone succeed and watching most of the team go up on the podium.”

The Glacier Bears also tied for second for the most gold medals with nine, a third of which came from Bakica in the boys 12-13 division.

The 13-year-old qualified for eight A finals and came away with five medals in all.

He won gold in the 100-metre breaststroke (1:21.39), the 200-metre individual medley (2:40.94) and the 400-metre individual medley (5:37.73) - the last of which stands out in his mind.

“That was a good race for me,” said Bakica. “I am a breaststroker, so my coach said to stay with them in the fly, stay with them in the back, and go ahead of them in the breast. And in the freestyle keep the lead. I think I pulled that off exactly how she wanted.”

Bakica also captured silver in the 200-metre breaststroke (2:57.70) and the 50-metre breaststroke (38.07).

“The team supported me to get those results, and my coaches and my physiotherapist,” said Bakica. “I had a shoulder injury a few weeks before the meet and my physiotherapist helped me out with exercises and I was able to get back in the water.”

Swimming in the same division, Harvey collected two gold and two silver over six A finals. The 13-year-old won gold in the 50-metre backstroke (33.85) and silvers in the 100-metre backstroke (1:13.24) and 400-metre freestyle (5:03.86).

Harvey also won gold in the 200-metre backstroke (2:35.25), which settled a friendly rivalry with competitor Matthew Tymos from the Pacific Sea Wolves club.

“He won gold in the 100 back, I won gold in the 50 back, and we talked to each other before the 200 - it was friendly - and we said whoever wins the 200 back was the victor,” said Harvey. “I won, so I feel pretty proud about that.”

Glacier Bear Amelia Ford, 11, posted all personal bests on her way to three medals in girls 11-and-under.

The sprint racer grabbed gold in the 50-metre butterfly (35.16) and the 50-metre freestyle (32.19) and silver in the 100-metre freestyle (1:12.38).

“I just sprinted it and tried to do my best,” said Ford. “I was really happy for our team.”

Whitehorse’s Kassua Dreyer didn’t know what to expect at her first B.C. championship.

“I had never been to the AAs before, so I didn’t know how it was going to be. I thought people might be faster than me,” said Dreyer.

No one was in two of her events.

Dreyer secured two gold and a silver in girls 11-and-under. She took gold in the 200 free (2:35.12) and the 400 free (5:25.44) and silver in the 800 free (11:27.35).

“That’s my favourite race,” said Dreyer of the 800. “I think I’m strong in long distance because when other people are tired, I feel I can sprint at the last 50 (metres).”

Dreyer thanks the Ross River Dena Council and the Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund for financial support this season.

“It was really fun. I enjoyed it a lot,” she added.

Glacier Bears’ Brooklyn Massie made eight A finals and eventually claimed silver in the 200 back (2:35.67) in girls 12-13.

Alex Petriw reached five A finals in boys 12-13, placing fifth in the 100 back and sixth in the 1,500 free.

“Alex swam over 3,500 metres during the weekend because he had all the long events,” said Glacier Bears head coach Malwina Bukszowana. “You could see on the last day he was really tired.”

Cassidy Cairns made two A finals in girls 12-13 and almost picked up a medal placing fourth in the 100 free, just 0.32 seconds from bronze.

Other Glacier Bears results include: Luka Bakica sixth in the 200 breast for boys 14-and-over; Ella Pollock Shepherd 14th in the 200 breast in girls 12-13; Donovan Bielz 13th in the 100 free for boys 14-and-over; and Liam Diamond 16th in the 200 free in boys 12-13.

Thomas Gishler was the only member of the team to break a club record last weekend. He broke the record in the 50 fly at 39.98 seconds to place sixth in boys 11-and-under.

Thomas Bakica, Diamond, Harvey and Petriw also teamed up for sixth in the 4x50-metre freestyle relay.

“The kids swam really, really well,” said Bukszowana. “I could talk about every kid because they all did a really good job. It was just a pleasure to watch them because they were winning medals, making finals ... It was a really good weekend.”

Contact Tom Patrick at