North Island Predators swimmers stand up against a graffiti artist’s work in Montreal while in the city for the national championships. Pictured from left are

Predators swim to best meet in club history

Eight swimmers representing the North Island Predators Association took to the pool for the Canadian Age Group National Championships

Eight swimmers representing the North Island Predators Association took to the pool for the Canadian Age Group National Championships in Montreal, Quebec on July 24.

The team was made up of four swimmers from the Comox Valley Aquatic Club, and four swimmers from the Campbell River Killer Whales, all looking to swim their way on to the podium in one of the biggest meets of the year. All the coaches were very excited to see what these kids could do, but no one was prepared for how successful the meet turned out to be.

Conner Skuse and Brooke Lamoureux both brought in four medals a piece at the national championships, exceeding both their goals going into the meet. Skuse ended the meet with two bronze medals in the 200 IM and 1500 freestyle, one silver in the 200 breaststroke, and one gold in the 400 IM. In the 200 breaststroke, Skuse smashed the club record which was held by Alec Page, who is competing at the World Championships in Barcelona this month. The times posted by Skuse in both the 400 IM and 200 breaststroke, put him in the top eight fastest 13-year-olds to ever swim in Canada. Lamoureux was also not a stranger to the podium, ending up with three bronze medals in the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyle, as well as a silver medal in the 5km open water race.

Ben Neufeld from the Comox Valley also showed that he will be someone to keep an eye on in years to come. With a bronze in the 50 backstroke and the 200 backstroke, he was no stranger to the podium throughout the weekend.

Jordyn Ryan was another Predators swimmer who kept on smashing goals throughout the meet. Talking to her coach before the meet, Ryan’s main goal was to make a final at the championship meet. After making the final in the 200 backstroke, an event that was a bonus swim for her, Ryan carried the momentum throughout the rest of the competition. She went on to final in every event but one over the course of the competition, with the highlight being a bronze medal in the 400 IM on day two.

Mackenzie Padington also became familiar with the excitement of finals. With six top 10 finishes, including an amazing swim off in the 100 breaststroke to make it into finals, Padington was always right in there battling for a medal during each session. Her first AGN championship medal came on the last day of the meet in the gruelling 5km open water race, where she joined teammate Lamoureux on the podium, picking up a bronze, for what was one of the most exciting finishes of the whole competition.

Kennedy Windle was the rookie of the team this year, and one of the youngest Predators at the competition. Windle blew all expectations out of the water, making her first ever AGN final in the 200 breaststroke. Moving up two spots in the final to finish seventh, Windle also finished with a Western Canadian qualifying standard, which allows her to compete at the Western Canadian Championships next spring.

The competition ended up being the most successful meet in Predators history, with the team ending up with 12 medals, placing fifteenth overall as a team, with the girls team finishing ninth overall, ahead of over 120 other clubs from around the country.

Coaches Sarah and Darryl Rudolf were very proud of the swimmers over the course of the weekend. The team came together as a family, supporting each other in their failures, as well as celebrating together with their successes.

Next up for the Predators is a much deserved break, as the 2013-14 season is right around the corner.

For more information on both the Campbell River Killer Whales or Comox Valley Aquatic Club, check out their websites at www.crkw.ca and www.sharks.bc.ca

Information about registration for the 2013-14 season is available on both club’s websites.