Tyees forward Josh Coblenz has his stick grabbed by a Saanich Brave during semi-final action Saturday at Rod Brind'Amour Arena.

Tyees will play for Island title

Campbell River’s David Palmer showed he belongs in a pool of Olympic hopefuls last weekend when the Campbell River Killer Whales competed at the Canadian Western Championships.The swim club did not compete at that level last year but this year was represented by Palmer at the championships which were held in Kamloops. The meet showcased Canada’s top swimmers from Manitoba to British Columbia with just over 500 athletes competing. “At this level of competition you can really see the depth of the technical expertise that has been achieved by these young dedicated athletes,” said Chris Koopmans, Killer Whales Head Coach. “Many of these athletes train over 20 hours in the pool a week, so it was a tall order to expect David to final with the training that he has put in with the closure of the pool.”In Palmer’s first race he was able to set a new club record of 25.14 for boys 15-16 years old. The old record had been set in 2008 by Alex Page. There are new official starting blocks that are now being used, however seeing how Palmer has not practiced on them, he chose a traditional start.On Saturday, Palmer was entered in the very competitive 100 metre freestyle.  “We got to the pool early and worked on his starts with the new blocks. It is challenging to be experimenting so close to the race but those new blocks really do give an advantage to those swimmers using them,” said Koopmans.The result: Palmer had a very slow start, being the last one off the blocks, but was able to make it up, going from eighth place at the 50 to fourth in his heat with a best time and new club record of 55.08. The old club record was set in 1995 by John Stamhuis.In Palmer’s final race, he was in for a bit of a surprise. Mike Brown, two time Olympian decided to come back out of retirement and try to make the 2012 Olympic Team. He was entered at No Time and was placed right beside Palmer for the 200 IM.Palmer, after becoming more comfortable with the new blocks, beat Brown with a reaction time of .74. Palmer took his 50 fly out in a best time of 28.86 and Brown was slightly ahead with 28.56. In the end, the Olympian won the heat with a time of 2:06.45, and Palmer placed fourth with a new best time of 2:18.19.  “Now with the pool opening up, I can really begin to work on my endurance so that I will be more capable of challenging the competition down the road,” said Palmer who was thrilled with the Western Canadian Championship experience.“It truly was an exciting atmosphere in Kamloops,” said Koopmans. “All of these athletes have their eye on next year’s Olympic Trials which is definitely feeding their desire at this swim meet.”Next up for the Killer Whales is the British Columbia AAA Championship held March 3-7 in Victoria. Anybody interested in joining the team, please call Chris Koopmans at 250-914-1214.

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