Four year old Cora Nikiforuk, left, and six year old Jada Pateman take a peek at each other during their 8 and under girls 25m flutterboard race at the annual Ponoka Gators Swim meet on July 15. Photos by Jordie Dwyer

Personal bests top the list for Ponoka Gators

Ponoka Gators swimmers earn medals and new personal top times at home meet

The list of great accomplishments was long for the Ponoka Gators Summer Swim club at its home meet.

More than 30 swimmers earned new personal best times in various events on July 15 at the meet held at the Ponoka Aquaplex, which also drew clubs from Castor, Lacombe, Innisfail, Hanna, Forestburg, Killam, Oyen and Red Deer.

In total, there were 250 swimmers taking part in the one-day meet, stated Karen David with the Gators.

“Everything went very smoothly and the weather, which included some clouds and a bit of breeze at times, was great especially for all of those that set up tents outside,” she said.

“We also got a lot of help from our volunteers, which really helped us get everything done and run on time.”

Overall, 41 Gators got into the pool in what was the club’s first meet in three weeks in what is a very short season.

“We begin in May and run through until the provincials go on August 18 to 20,” David stated, noting the final event goes at the Kinsmen Sport Centre in Edmonton.

“It was a busy June for the club with four straight meets, followed by two meets in the next two weeks before a break for the August long weekend and then the regionals the weekend before provincials.”

The Gators — which stands for Growth, Accomplishment, Teamwork, Optimism, Respect — prefers to encourage its swimmers to compete, though in a manner that fits the athlete’s personality. So, that translates into a fun, learning environment while also allowing for some competitiveness.

Which is why setting personal best times is a more important measure of success for the club than placement in races.

Among those swimmers that made significant gains in their times were:

Lucas Berg, in the 9/10 boys, shaving several seconds off his times in the 50m free and backstroke plus the 25m backstroke followed by cutting nearly 20 seconds off his time in the 100m free; Tori Christiansen knocking 13 seconds from her time in the 11/12 girls 50m butterfly; Liam Dillen in the 9/10 boys cutting more than 19 seconds from his time in the 50m free; Taryn Dracass obliterating her previous time in the 7/8 girls 25m flutterboard by a whopping 32 seconds; Xadrian Dracass lowering his 11/12 boys 100m free time by close to 25 seconds; Nathan Hawkins chopping 24 seconds from his time in the 9/10 boys 50m backstroke; Belle Lydom cutting her time in the 11/12 girls 100m individual medley by 20 seconds; Holly Lydom slashing over a minute from her 6 and under girls 25m flutterboard time; Gabriel McCormick cutting his 100m IM 9/10 boys time by 13 seconds; Aiden McTaggert lower his 14 and under boys 800m free time by 12 seconds; Cooper O’Connell knocking off 13 seconds from his previous best in the 6 and under boys 25m flutterboard; and, Owen Thompson slashing his 13/14 boys 100m backstroke time by an outstanding 35 seconds.

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Daniel Lehr-Nichols pops out of the water as he heads for the wall at the end of the boys 13-14 year old 100m butterfly at the Ponoka Gators Invitational on July 15. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

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