Lone Glacier Bear races at nationals

Whitehorse Glacier Bear Haley Braga didn't have any Yukon teammates or a club coach to encourage her at the Canadian Age Group Championships in Calgary last weekend.

Whitehorse Glacier Bear Haley Braga didn’t have any Yukon teammates or a club coach to encourage her at the Canadian Age Group Championships in Calgary last weekend.

But Braga nonetheless out-performed herself, posting two personal best times while swimming in the 15-year-old girls division against Canada’s best.

“I didn’t do quite as well as I was hoping,” said Braga. “I’m happy with the best times… but I know there are things I need to improve on for next year. So I’m going to work on that and really try to get that down.”

“Before I left, there were a few technical things I wanted to improve upon, and they’ll take a little more time, so it’s good to know I have things to work on for next year.”

Braga swam a personal best time in the 200-metre individual medley, finishing in two minutes and 40.73 seconds for 51st place.

She also set a “PB” in the 100-metre backstroke, taking 63rd with a time of 1:13.99.

“I still love it and enjoy training,” said Braga. “Next year I’m excited because I know there is stuff that I know if I improve on, it’ll make me faster. So that’s really encouraging.”

In her other events in Calgary, Braga reached 55th in the 200-metre backstroke, and 57th in 100-metre freestyle.

The age group nationals marked the end of the Glacier Bears swim season.

At the B.C. AAA Long Course Championships in July, Braga placed sixth in the highly competitive 200-metre freestyle.

At the B.C. AAA Short Course Championships in March, she finished sixth in the 200-metre freestyle for her best showing and also came seventh in the 200-metre butterfly – two events she didn’t swim in over the weekend.

Glacier Bears head coach Stephanie Dixon “wanted me to do a few events I don’t normally do – no pressure, just go out and swim,” said Braga.

The weekend was Braga’s third consecutive appearance at the age group championship. Her strongest showing came at the 2010 championships in Winnipeg with an eighth place finish in the 400-metre freestyle for 13-year-old girls.

Braga currently holds four Glacier Bears club records.

Because she was the only Yukoner at the event, Braga was paired up with the Pacific Coast Swimming team from the University of Victoria.

“I was swimming with them, so I had a different coach and he pointed out a few things that I could improve upon,” said Braga. “It was really nice to have him there and give me ideas to work on for next year.”

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