The 2013 Canadian Age-Group championships are in the can, marking the end of the 11 month swim season for the Ravensong Breakers and once again says the club’s longtime skipper “the attending athletes exceeded expectations.”
Qualifying for the big meet from RAC and making the trip back east with head coach John Campbell were Maran Kokoszka and Laura Romkes, both 17, Richelle Bruyckere, 15, and 13-year-olds Haley Bennett, Jojo Redenbach and Megan Romkes.
Also traveling with the Breakers was Natalia Garriock from Duncan.
Campbell makes the point the CAG Championships “is the congregation of Canada’s best AG swimmers up to 18 years old. This year’s showcase was held in Montreal at the Jean Drapeau Aquatic Centre on St. Helen Island, the site of Expo ‘67 and renovated to host the 2005 World Aquatic Championships where Michael Phelps set numerous world records.
There were over 160 teams from all over Canada as well as a few teams from Great Britain, Bermuda and Australia.
“With over 950 swimmers, this is one of the largest AG meets in North America,” said Campbell.
Day one of the meet saw a great start for the Breakers with Redenbach winning a bronze medal in the 100 Fly with a personal best time of 1:05.02.
“It was a very tight race with less than a second between first and third.”
Competing in her specialty, the 200 Back, Kokoszka made it through heats and finished fourth in the final.
Bennett’s morning swim was fast enough to win a bronze in the 1500 Free.
No Breakers qualified for finals on day two, but on day three the Breakers had a team high four swimmers in an event, the 200 Fly.
Bruyckere and Megan Romkes went through to finals.
In the finals for the 13 year olds, “Megan swam a very close race from start to finish and finished just out of the medals in fourth. Richelle placed sixth in her final (15 year olds), both in personal best times.
Also just out of the medals was Bennett who finished fourth in the 800 Free.
On day four, Bennett, who was originally seeded 21st going into the 200 Free event, qualified ninth with a personal best time in the prelims, and maintained the number nine spot in the final with a PBT of 2:14.21.
Day five, the final day of the pool events, saw Redenbach qualify for the finals in the 50 Fly where she placed fifth with a personal best time of 29.47.
On Day Six the meet shifted to the site of the ‘76 Olympic Rowing basin for the Open Water event. The senior swimmers course was two laps around a 2.5 km course, while the juniors (13) did one.
Bennett, RAC’s resident distance expert ‘got down to business,’ leading around three of the four buoys before straying off course and losing a few positions going into the final stretch and finishing sixth out of a field of around 30.
“This was the best showing for our little team,” said Campbell, in his 13th season at the helm of the local high performance club, adding the Breakers finished 53rd out of over 160 teams and the second best individual team on the island, out-scoring considerably much larger teams in metropolitan centres that number 250-300 swimmers strong.
The Breakers had 50 swimmers this year, striking home again their reputation as ‘the little club that could.’
The other thing is that we’ve had medals before but they were always one or two big swimmers, this time we had more swimmers qualify for finals (10) then we’ve ever had.”
ON DECK: The Breakers start up again Sept. 19, “and we’re always on the lookout for new up and coming swimmers.”