ORCA SWIMMERS Members of the Summerland Orca Swim Club, with coach Delano Ducheck, were in Vancouver for the Swim B.C. Age Group Provincial Championships in Vancouver. (Contributed)

Summerland Orca swimmers earn provincial medals

Eight swimmers qualified for provincial championships

Taryn Weatherhead led the Summerland swimmers with six medals at the Swim B.C. Age Group Provincial Championships in Vancouver in late February.

Weatherhed, 11, brought home four gold and two silver medals from the event at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, Feb. 21 to 23.

Summerland Orca Swim Club qualified eight 13 and under swimmers for the provincial championship swim meet over the weekend.

“All of the athletes stepped up in a huge way,” said head coach Delano Ducheck. “The swimmers all had personal best times, heat winners, and we were able to field a few relay teams; a sign that the program is building and gaining momentum.”

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Weatherhead won four gold medals posting the fastest time for the eleven year old category for the 50m freestyle (29.04), 100m freestyle (1:02.55), 100m butterfly (1:10.26), and the 200m butterfly (2:38.84).

The 50m and 100m freestyle were meet records as well as the second fastest time in Canada for this season.

“She continues to impress,” Ducheck said, “but it’s not just her physical achievements, it’s her mental toughness and calm under stress. She is very mature for her age.”

All the Summerland athletes showed signs of improvements. Dezi Ducheck, 12, was the other medalist, winning a bronze in the 50m freestyle (28.35), and multiple top eight performances.

Kyah De Mitri 11, Mateo Ducheck,, 10 and Casey McDermid, 13, also had top 20 finishes and together with Peter Kunka, 12, Payton Mitchell, 11, and Gordon Widdis, 12 achieved personal best times in their individual races.

“Leading up in preparation for the swim meet, we had almost every swimmer out with either an illness or an injury, and I thought we were not going to have as successful a swim meet, Ducheck said. “But kids are tough, they bounce back, and they don’t put limitations on themselves. Adults could learn a lesson or two from them.”

The Age Group Provincial Championships is the pinnacle meet for young swimmers in B.C. as 486 athletes from 39 swim teams gathered from all areas of the province and Northwest Territories for the three-day event.

Swimmers qualify for the championship meet by attaining time standards throughout the season in individual events for their age group.

In continued support of the athletes, the Summerland Orca board of directors covered the entry fees for the Summerland athletes.

The 13 and over Summerland swimmers will be taking part in the Manitoba-Saskatchewan provincials in mid March instead of the customary B.C. provincials in Victoria.

When asked why he chose to send the older swimmers to Winnipeg, Ducheck said, “I heard one of them say it was cold in Summerland the other day.”

The Summerland Orca Swim Club has a few upcoming fundraiser events including a five-kilometre Swim-a-thon on April 25, an I-Can-Swim Jamboree on May 3 and the return of the Summerland Sprint Triathlon and Kids of Steel race Sept. 6.

Those interested in helping the team with sponsorship or donation are asked to contact orcaswimpresident@gmail.com.

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