Three Glacier Bears ‘crack’ into Westerns

The weekend's Christmas Cracker swim meet in Victoria became a stepping stone to a couple major competitions in the new year for one Whitehorse Glacier Bear.

The weekend’s Christmas Cracker swim meet in Victoria became a stepping stone to a couple major competitions in the new year for one Whitehorse Glacier Bear.

Bears Erin McArthur, Isabel Parkkari and Haley Braga each posted times good enough to qualify for the Western Canadian Championships in early February in Kamloops, BC.

McArthur, who was the only golden Bear at the meet, finishing first in the 100-metre breaststroke and third in both the 200- and 50-metre events, secured a spot on Team BC for the Pacific Coast All Star meet in Portland, Oregon, in January.

“It used to be the 200(-metre breaststroke), but after this race the 100 is my best,” said McArthur, who competes in girls 12-and-under.

McArthur, who is ranked both second in BC and in Canada in the “100 breast” for her age-group, made the finals in all seven of her events, which include freestyle and an individual medley.

“It was shocking – I was very happy,” said McArthur. “Breaststroke is my favourite stroke, so I just work really hard at that stroke in my practices.

“My freestyle is pretty good. It’s not my favourite stroke, but I’m pretty good at sprints.”

Swimming in the 13/14 girls’ division, Parkkari, 14, won two silver medals in the 1,500- and the 800- metre freestyle. She also took sixth in the 400-metre freestyle and eighth in both the 200- and 400-metre individual medleys.

“The 1,500 (stands out) because I was going for a really good time in that,” said Parkkari. “I’m a distance swimmer, and my splits were pretty much dead on.

“I got personal bests in almost all my races – all but my 100-metre backstroke. I’m going to all my practices, working hard and doing some weight training.”

Currently, Parkkari is the top ranked BC/Yukon swimmer for the 1,500-metre freestyle and also holds the No. 3 spot in the event nationally for her age category.

“I’m kind of impressed with myself,” said Parkkari, on reflecting on her national ranking.

Braga missed the podium in her 13-14 girls events, but made three finals, scooping up seventh in the 200-metre freestyle and fifth in the 400- and 800-metre freestyle events.

“I was pretty excited,” said Braga of making the Westerns. “That was my goal going down there. It was a lot of fun and it was a good meet.”

The 13-year-old holds the current ranking of fourth in BC and eighth nationally for the 400-metre freestyle, in which she qualified for the Westerns.

“I wanted to go a little bit faster in that one, but just getting my time was good enough I guess,” said Braga.

At last year’s Christmas Cracker, while still competing in girls’ 12-and-under, Braga was the only Glacier Bear to pocket a medal, taking in a bronze in the 100-metre freestyle. At the event, she made three other finals.

Showing promise outside of freestyle, Braga also made two B finals for the butterfly, finishing 10th in the 200- and 12th in the 100-metre.

“I still want to improve my butterfly a bit – obviously I want to improve all my strokes – but it got better and I got personal bests in all my butterfly events,” said Braga.

Other top results from the Glacier Bears include Josh Kelly, who made three finals, including a sixth-place finish in the 50-metre freestyle, and teammates Taylor Campbell and Kirsten Berube, each of whom made a final.

Christmas Cracker results

Erin McArthur (12&U girls) – 200free/5th, 200IM/8th, 50breast/3rd, 100breast/1st, 100free/10th, 50 free/4th, 200breast/3rd

Isabel Parkkari (13/14 girls) – 200free/13th, 200IM/8th, 1500 free/2nd, 400 free/6th, 100breast/19th, 200fly/13th, 400IM/8th, 100back/32nd, 800free/2nd

Haley Braga (13/14 girls) – 200free/7th, 200IM/16th, 400free/5th, 100free/19th, 200fly/10th, 100fly/12th, 50free/23rd, 800free/5th

Taylor Campbell (13/14 girls) – 50 fly/27th, 50back/12th, 200IM/31st, 400free/21st, 200back/14th, 100free/23rd, 50free/26th, 100back/8th

Josh Kelly (15&O boys) – 50fly/16th, 50breast/8th, 100breast/8th, 100free/9th, 50free/6th, 100back/22nd

Kirsten Berube (15&O girls) – 50fly/8th, 200free/18th, 50back/18th, 200IM/19th, 100breast/19th, 100free/10th, 50free19th, 100back/19th

Shannon Holmes (15&O girls) – 50fly/32nd, 200free/38th, 200IM/37th, 100free/49th, 100fly/38th, 50free/50th, 800free/9th

Camille Saunders (13/14 girls) – 50fly/64th, 50back/38th, 100breast/59th, 200back/40th, 50free/76th, 200breast/41st

Daniel Saunders (12&U boys) – 200free/24th, 50back/27th, 50breast/19th, 100breast/35th, 100free/38th, 50free/42nd, 100back/43rd

Emily Crist (12&U girls) – 50fly/44th, 200free/38th, 50back/19th, 200back/37th, 100free/61st, 50free/42nd, 100back/29th

Karine Smith (13/14 girls) – 50fly/67th, 200IM68th, 400free/45th, 200back/42nd, 100fly/58th, 100back /58, 200breast/40th

Danielle Smith (13/14 girls) – 50back/30th, 1500free/11th, 400free/40th,

200back/37th, 100free/77th, 100fly/60th, 100back/50th, 800free/27th

Tynan Leong-Best (15&O boys) – 50fly/38th, 50back/22nd, 50breast/22nd, 100breast/39th, 100free/58th, 100fly/38th, 50free/49th, 100back/37th

Sam Storey (13/14 boys) – 50fly/21st, 200free/33rd, 50breast/21st, 100breast/25th, 100free/40th, 50free/29th, 200breast/24th

Gavin Young (13/14 boys) – 50back/18th, 200back/24th, 100free/44th, 50free/35th, 100back/26th

Deven Bane (13/14 boys) – 200free/59th, 15000free/12th, 200back/34th, 100back/43rd, 800free/24th

Cassis Lindsay (12&U girls) – 200free/58th, 200IM/66th, 400free/34th, 100free/53rd, 50free/45th, 200breast/44th

Rennes Lindsay (12&U girls) – 200free/67th, 200IM/80th, 100breast/78th, 100free/95th, 50free/85th, 200breast/49th

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