Jamiliya Wellard

Campbell River Killer Whales swim on the national stage

All four Killer Whales upheld Campbell River’s reputation as a hotbed for high performance

Brooke Wenger accepts one of her two medals at Age Group Nationals. Silver in the 400 freestyle.

The Campbell River Killer Whales touched down in Calgary Alberta last month prior to getting acclimated to the high altitude conditions at Age Group Nationals July 26-31 in the Talisman Center.

The team consisting of veterans Cianna Dunn, Jamiliya Wellard, rookies Brooke Wenger and Kara Beauregard definitely had a challenge with the move from sea level. Coach Jim Campbell had the four swimmers as prepared as possible to head into the week of racing and was a calming presence throughout the meet where the pressure’s to perform are at a maximum level.

The first day saw at least one Killer Whale represented in every event. Cianna Dunn(200 back), Jamiliya Wellard(100 fly,50 breast), Brooke Wenger(100 fly,1500 free), and Kara Beauregard(200 back,1500 free). In the morning prelims session Wenger was able to qualify 4th in the 100 fly and put the first Killer Whale in the top 8 and qualifying for an evening session final. Wellard finished 14th in her 100 fly and Dunn 24th in her 200 back just off their personal bests. Before Wenger’s 100 fly final where she ended up 4th again while breaking her own club record, she was able to swim to a 27 sec best time in the marathon 1500 meter freestyle and in doing so was able to win CRKWs first medal for a third place finish.

The next three days were full of good swims but the competition at the National level was proving itself difficult and making Finals(top 8), was a feat in itself. Wenger was able to make finals in the 200 fly(5th), 200 free(7th), and Beauregard(11), who was one of the youngest swimmers at AGNs joined Brooke in the 200 fly final finishing 8th on the big stage. Beauregard ended up achieving three top 10 finishes as one of only five 11year olds to qualify in the 12 and under age group. Wellard had a fast 50 free Saturday just missing finals(13th), and also best timed her 100 breaststroke. Dunn just 15, entered her 50 backstroke within a couple tenths of a Senior Summer National qualifying time, swam a great race just off her personal best finishing 16th in the Country.

By the time the fifth and final day of the meet rolled around the girls needed a kickstart and Wellard did just that. She was able to post the 4th fastest 50 fly in prelims and put the Killer Whales back in to a final. Following her lead Wenger went out and qualified 6th in her 50 fly and put up a great time in her 400 free good enough for the 1st seed heading into the final night of competition. The 50 butterfly is one of those fan friendly exciting events where the temperature heated up in the Talisman Center. Wellard showed no fear going head to head with some of the biggest names in the Country, and threw down a club record time and nearly qualifying for Canadian Trials. She ended up fourth just getting out touched for third by a couple tenths.

The last event for the meet and last swimmer to race at Nationals for CRKW was Wenger. After qualifying first, but being the eighth seed entering the meet, she was in an exciting, yet surprising position of having the spotlight on her in lane 4.  She showed she could handle the bright lights and posted a best time, club record, and silver medal winning swim.

All four Killer Whales upheld Campbell River’s reputation as a hotbed for high performance, sportsmanlike athletes and have shown that Campbell River swimming is still to be held in high regard. Under the tutelage of new Head Coach Jim Campbell, the future of the Killer Whales looks very exciting and are already looking forward to the 2016/17 season beginning in September.