Kokoszka claims gold in Winnipeg

Breakers star puts on an impressive showing in Winnipeg

Good as gold. RAC Breakers’ standout  Maran Kokoszka

Another big meet, another impressive showing on the part of the Ravensong Aquatic Centre (RAC) Breakers.

The local swim club’s ‘fab four’ are back home after a great showing at the 2012 Canadian Western Short Course Swim Championships.

In the mix at Winnipeg’s PanAm pool Feb. 16-19, and having qualified for the big annual showcase for this country’s top young swimmers, were the Breakers’ Laura Romkes, 16,  Maran Kokoszka, 15, and 14-year-olds Nikki Biro and Richelle Bruyckere.

“They all swam very well,” Breakers’ head coach John Campbell said.

The highlight of the meet he said was Maran’s gold medal swim in the final of the 200 Back where she touched the wall with a 2:15.27.

Played out over eight lengths of the pool, the race, said Campbell, “was close from start to finish.”

“It was anybody’s race and she wanted it,” said the veteran skipper, adding, “Maran’s always very strong at the end of her races and she obviously  had a way better touch. When we looked at the video (after) Maran threw her head back and pushed for the wall, stretched out to out-touch the rest of the girls. It was very exciting (and) she obviously knew how close it was.”

Close is right.

The top five girls came in at 2:15 and change.

“That’s a pretty competitive pack,” chuckled Campbell. “What a huge accomplishment.”

A huge accomplishment made possible by hundreds of hours in the pool — Kokoszka has been swimming with the club for about eight years.

The Western Championships are divided into two groups — the athletes compete in either the 15 and Under division or the 16 and Over.

In other action, Campbell said that in her 200 Fly, Romkes was leading the pack from 100m to 175m but mistimed her turn just enough that three girls got by her and she had to settle for fourth with a personal best time (PBT) of 2:15.97 — a five-second improvement on her qualifying time, and a new club record.

In the first swim of the meet for the local high performance swim club, the rookie of the pack, Nikki Biro, turned in a personal best time of 27.66 in the 50 Free to break Jessica Aspinall’s longstanding club record in that event.

That time earned her 17th overall, “and considering there were over a hundred kids entered in that event … it’s a remarkable showing for a rookie at Westerns,” said her coach.

Also turning in a big effort was Bruyckere who touched the wall for two PBT — one in the 400 Free where she lopped three seconds off for a 4:33, and the other in the gruelling 800 Free where she went 9:23.71 for a 13 second improvement.

“I thought it was another great showing,” he said of his group, adding “a gold medal at that level is always very exciting. It was a very good trip. Winnipeg is a nice place to be from.”



Assistant coach Gary Cheung took 23 Breakers to the Campbell River Eliminator swim meet, Feb. 18-19.

Highlights from that meet include a new white cap (AAA qualifier) for Hannah Lorette, 10, in the 400 Free, who turned in a 6:02.

Campbell will be taking 11 swimmers to Surrey this weekend for the 2012 AAA Short Course Provincial Championships.

Laura and Maran in the meantime are beginning their final preparations for the Olympic Trials slated for Olympic Pool in Montreal March 27-April 1.


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