Speedy swimming sisters Rennes and Cassis Lindsay hit the pool with the fastest in the country last week in Quebec City.
The two Whitehorse Glacier Bears competed at the Canadian Age Group Championships with Rennes capturing a pair of bronze medals.
“That was pretty exciting. I didn’t think I would make that many finals or get medals, really,” said Rennes. “It was a bit of a surprise.
“I’m not really surprised one of my medals came in the 800 freestyle because that’s a race I’m pretty comfortable with and is probably one of my favourite races, and I really like it long-course.”
Swimming at her first national championship, Rennes won bronze in the 400-metre freestyle and 800-metre freestyle in the girls 12-and-under division. The 12-year-old finished the 400 in 4:41.86 and the 800 in 9:49.67 in the finals.
“Rennes had amazing freestyle races,” said Glacier Bears head coach Malwina Bukszowana in a news release. “Her tactics were very good, she knew how to race it, and when to attack to place herself high in the final and with her great finishes, she was able to hold it ... Her 400 and 800 free could not have been paced any better.”
“My coach and I really liked my 400 freestyle because she told me I had to be really brave,” said Rennes. “I was afraid if I went out and stayed with them instead of at their feet, I would be really tired at the end. But I went out really fast and held it and Malwina said it was a really good race.”
In addition to the two medals, Rennes reached three other finals. She took sixth in the 200 free, ninth in the 200-metre butterfly and fourth in the 400-metre individual medley, breaking her own long-course club record with a time of 5:28.75 in finals.
“It was really fun, the pool was amazing,” said Rennes. “It was really cool to have all the best age group swimmers in Canada there, so it was pretty exciting.”
Cassis, who competed in the 14-year-old girls category, was swimming at her second age group nationals. Last year she topped out with a 12th in the 50-metre freestyle for her best result.
She improved on that with a ninth place finish in the 50 free final last Friday, coming in at 28.14 seconds.
“It’s a really great meet because you get to see where you stand in Canada,” said Cassis. “My best placing was ninth and I’m pretty happy with that. It’s a step up from 12th last year.
“After you race you think, ‘I got ninth.’ But when you think about it, you’re like, ‘Wait, that’s in all of Canada.’”
Cassis also placed 20th in the 100 free and 200 medley prelims, but what stands out most for her was the 50 fly, in which she placed 36th.
“My favourite race was the 50 butterfly. It was my only PB (personal best) and it was weird because fly is not my best stroke ... and I just missed Alexandra Gabor’s (club) record, which was a big milestone. I missed it by four hundredths of a second.”
(Gabor, who is a former national champion, was the first Yukon athlete ever to win gold at the Canada Summer Games, which she did in 2009.)
“She has good under water fly kicks off the walls and the dive, which helps in sprints,” said Bukszowana. “Cassis is hard working swimmer, who is willing to improve, make changes and she thinks a lot during every practice, and after the whole season of strict training, she deserves her final.”
Though the championship marked the end of the season for Rennes, Cassis still has another major one to go. Cassis, along with Glacier Bears teammate Luke Bakica, will represent Yukon at the Western Canada Summer Games next week in Wood Buffalo, Alta.
“I have another chance to break all my best times - I’m really excited about that,” said Cassis.
“I’d just like to say thank you to the (Yukon) Aboriginal Sports Circle and the Yukon government’s high performance funding program, for my high performance funding, and my coach and my family,” added Rennes.
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