The Ryan Downing Memorial Swim Meet was originally created to provide young swimmers some competition early in the season. Mission accomplished.
While a few club records, and a bunch of meet records, fell during the event, another noteworthy record to fall came in terms of participation.
The Ryan Downing meet, held Friday and Saturday at the Canada Games Centre, was the largest meet ever hosted by the Whitehorse Glacier Bears with 147 swimmers participating, including a record 43 coming from the Juneau Glacier Swim Club, plus 10 from the Haines Dolphins club in Alaska.
“There was some great swims all around – some great competition – and it’s great to see those clubs from Alaska,” said Mike McArthur, president of the Glacier Bears. “That’s huge.
“The success of the event is due to all the volunteers, the Canada Games Centre staff and our sponsors. It was a great effort by the community as a whole.”
Three club records were toppled at the meet, with two coming from Glacier Bear Adrian Robinson and one from teammate Alexandra Gabor.
Swimming in the boys 10-and-under division, Robinson, who moved to Whitehorse from Botswana about a year-and-a-half ago, set records in the 100- and 200-metre breaststroke. Robinson, who set two club records at the Yukon Invitational in April, also broke four meet records over the weekend.
“He was swimming in some club there and he’s made good progress over the last year, and now he’s continuing to do well,” said Glacier Bears head coach Marek Poplawski. “I see him at the pool a few times a week and I know he is working hard and is keen about swimming. It looks like swimming is very important for his parents; they are very supportive of his swimming and want him to do well.
“I think they said that they chose Whitehorse, when they were moving to Canada, because we have such a good swim club here.”
In what’s already shaping up to be an illustrious season this winter, Gabor, who also set five club records in the girls 15-and-over category, set a new club record in the 1,500-metre freestyle for girls 15-17.
“It used to be my event when I was 12, but I haven’t really trained for it too much,” said Gabor. “I wasn’t that into it, but the fact that I did it, I’m happy with.”
Gabor’s latest club record, topping a list of over 60, comes just days after receiving an invite to compete at the World Aquatic Championships in Dubai, UAE this December. It will be her second World Championships – first short-course – having competed at the long-course championships last summer in Rome. There she finished 20th in the 200-metre freestyle and helped propel a Canadian relay team to eighth place in the women’s 4×200-metre relay.
“This time will be easier because I don’t have to go to a qualifying meet first,” said Gabor. “Last time it was really stressful because I had to go to nationals and swim my way onto the team and then go to worlds (two weeks later),” said Gabor. “This way, knowing I’m already on the team, I can just focus on preparing properly for it. I think it will help a lot and I will be more mentally ready than last time.”
Other local swimmers to break meet records were Erin McArthur in the girls 11-12 category and Taylor Campbell in girls 13-14.
In related news, former Glacier Bears swimmer, Bronwyn Pasloski, who now competes in NCAA for the University of Indiana had her first meet as a Hoosier on Saturday. Pasloski helped her school to a 156-129 win over Kentucky State with a second-place finish in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke and fourth in the 100-metre.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org