Yukon swimmers top out with eight finals

It was the end of another long swim season, but Yukoners had a few more personal bests to unload at the Western Canada Summer Games last week. In more than half the races they competed in, Yukoners produced their fastest-ever times, resulting in eight appearances in finals.


It was the end of another long swim season, but Yukoners had a few more personal bests to unload at the Western Canada Summer Games last week.

In more than half the races they competed in, Yukoners produced their fastest-ever times, resulting in eight appearances in finals.

“I think altogether there were 65 per cent best times, which is very good for the end of the season,” said Yukon head coach Marek Poplawski. “Considering the preparations we had, with the pool closed for a while, altogether I was really happy with the performances. It was excellent. Everyone tried their best.”

One such personal best time came from Yukon’s Josh Kelly, propelling him to sixth in the 100-metre breaststroke final on Saturday.

“I’m very pleased with it; I couldn’t be more happy,” said Kelly. “Breaststroke is one of my better strokes.”

Not only did Kelly set a personal best in producing the Yukon’s best finish, he achieved a national standard time in the event.

“Usually I’ll achieve a national time standard (in a season), but then I’ll age-up and lose it,” said Kelly. “But this time I achieved it and I have it now.”

While Kelly had the Yukon’s top finish in the individual events, three other Yukoners reach two or more finals.

Years younger than her competitors, Yukon’s Erin McArthur, 13, made two finals, the 200- and 100-metre breaststroke, taking eighth and seventh respectively.

Taking in the same results was teammate Kirsten Berube, who made the finals of the 400-metre individual medley despite swimming five seconds off her personal best, finishing in eighth. She then finaled in the100-metre butterfly on Saturday, snagging seventh.

Yukon’s Haley Braga made two finals in one day for the 200-metre butterfly and the 400-freestyle, finishing in eighth in both on Friday.

Braga also represented the territory in Sunday’s five-kilometre timed event, coming seventh.

The Western Games were Poplawski’s final meet as head coach for the Yukon and the Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club.

Since assuming the role in September of 2004, Poplawski has coached swimmers to close to 900 club records, oversaw the Yukon’s first-ever medals in swimming at the Canada Summer Games in 2009, and has helped two of the club’s top swimmers, Alexandra Gabor and Bronwyn Pasloski, to full scholarships at NCAA schools, to name just a few accomplishments.

“This was my last meet, so I turn this page and go to the next page,” said Poplawski.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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