Youngster steals the show at Ryan Downing meet

The name Adrian Robinson was on everyone’s lips at the 2012 Ryan Downing Memorial Swim Meet on Friday and Saturday at the Canada Games Centre. The Whitehorse Glacier Bears swimmer was breaking records left, right and centre.

The name Adrian Robinson was on everyone’s lips at the 2012 Ryan Downing Memorial Swim Meet on Friday and Saturday at the Canada Games Centre.

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears swimmer was breaking records left, right and centre, and even achieved a time that placed him at the top of his age category in Canada.

“I just train really hard and my parents encourage me a lot, so do my teammates and coach,” said Robinson. “I just try my best.

“We do a lot of sprints and techniques, so that helps me a lot. Our coach has helped me on a lot of stuff.”

A total of 15 meet records fell at the meet, eight at the hands of Robinson. The 12-year-old also pocketed four club records and posted two AAA times.

Robinson set his club records, all of which are also meet records, in the boys 11-12 category.

His records came in the 50-metre freestyle (29.54), the 50-metre backstroke (34.70), the 50-metre breaststroke (38.55) and the 100-metre breaststroke (1:24.59).

Robinson now holds 11 short course Glacier Bears club records and one long course record.

His time in the 50 free is a AAA time and puts him third in Canada for his age.

Robinson’s time in the 50 breast puts him at No. 1 in Canada for his age group. He was proud of it.

“I’ve been trying to go under 40 (seconds) for quite a long time and I did 38 last night,” said Robinson. “That’s my favourite stroke, my favourite race.”

Robinson, who is starting his third season with the Glacier Bears since moving to Whitehorse from Botswana three years ago, set four meet records with AA times. He completed the 100-metre freestyle in 1:07.94, the 100-metre backstroke in 1:18.11, the 200-metre individual medley in 2:48.96 and the 200-metre backstroke in 2:50.60.

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Glacier Bears Haley Braga, Cassis Lindsay, Rennes Lindsay and Matthew Blakesley set the other seven meet records.

Competing in the women 15-and-over category, Braga set a record in the 200-metre butterfly (2:36.08), with a AAA time, and the 50-metre backstroke (33.69). Braga, who set two meet records last year as well, currently holds four club records.

The Lindsay sisters each broke two meet records and set a AA time.

Cassis set a record in the 50-metre backstroke (34.98) and the 200-metre backstroke (2:44.07) for girls 11-12. Her times in the 50 free (29.87) and 200 free (2:25.66) put her third in Canada in both events for her age group.

Rennes registered 3:12.78 in her 200-metre backstroke and 3:23.89 in the 200-metre butterfly for her records in girls 10-and-under. Her time in the 200 fly is a AA time for girls 11-and-under.

Blakesley swam to 2:48.00 in the 200-metre freestyle in boys 11-12 for his record.

For the second year in a row the meet was attended by Whitehorse swimming star MacKenzie Downing. MacKenzie, who is the sister of Ryan Downing, says the meet is a great way to start the season.

“It was amazing. It’s so much fun to come home,” said MacKenzie. “There’s no pressure and it’s a great way to start the year. It was my first meet of the year and it’s great to get back to why I love swimming and be with the club I grew up with. The whole atmosphere is really positive for starting off the year.”

MacKenzie has captured seven national titles over her career and has competed at the Commonwealth Games and the Pan-Pacific Games.

She won silver in the 100-metre butterfly at the Canadian Summer Nationals in July.

This being her last year at the University of Victoria, MacKenzie will focus on reaching the World University Games a final time and hopes to compete at the Canadian championships.

“This year, I think, is going to be my last year swimming and I’m just training for the World University Games, which are in Russia this year,” said MacKenzie. “I’ve been to three of them already and it’s one of the most fun meets. I think it will be a great way to end my career off.”

About 100 swimmers, including 13 from Alaska’s Haines Dolphins Swim Team, attended the meet over the weekend.

The memorial meet was a success, on numerous fronts, said Glacier Bears head coach Stephanie Dixon.

“I think this was the most smooth competition I’ve seen us run, which is great,” said Dixon. “We had some new meet managers and they did a fantastic job. We had some fast times; we had some people qualify for the AAs and we had some meet records set. And it’s always great to have MacKenzie here, she serves as a great role model for our young kids. Everyone was happy, everything went smoothly and it was just an all-around great start to our season.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com