Ponoka Gators thrash and chew on the opposition

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  • Jul. 20, 2011 10:00 a.m.
Ponoka Gators swimmer Helena Winter strides through the water during the Ponoka Gators swim meet last week in the girls 15 to 17 50 metre short fly event.

Ponoka Gators swimmer Helena Winter strides through the water during the Ponoka Gators swim meet last week in the girls 15 to 17 50 metre short fly event.

By Adam Jackson

Swimming may be an individual sport, but for a local group, it’s about family and leadership.

The Ponoka Gators Swim Club hosted its annual swim meet on July 16, welcoming more than 200 swimmers from central Alberta to the Ponoka Aquaplex.

The Gators did not disappoint at their home meet by any means, as they captured 15 events with first place titles out of a possible 61.

“It was a great event for everyone,” said head coach Alison Weske. “Everyone performed well and had a lot of fun, that’s always the key.”

It was a long day for the swimmers, as the meet ran from early in the morning to the early evening.

“It always amazes me that they keep their energy high — I’m usually tired after about five hours,” laughed Weske.

The swimmers had a lot to keep them entertained during the meet, as many camped out on the lawn of the Aquaplex and a few troublemakers got their hands on waterguns.

One particular swimmer — 18-year-old Keane Morrow — performed well and is also a vital part of the team, according to Weske.

“This is my first year coaching this club, but Keane is definitely a great guy,” said Weske. “He’s just a joy to coach and he’s really enthusiastic about swimming.”

Morrow’s performance in the water last weekend — four first-place finishes to be exact — isn’t the only reason why he’s a valuable asset to the team, says Weske.

“He’s just a great guy to have around in general. If any of the other kids need help, he’s always the first one to step up and help them out.”

Another top performer at the meet for the Gators was 15-year-old Presley Waknuk.

Like Morrow, Waknuk pulled off four first place finishes.

“She’s a really strong swimmer,” said Weske. “She takes everything in stride. When she has a not-so-hot run, she doesn’t let it bother her, she just keeps herself going.”

As August approaches, so does the end of the swimming season. The Gators will compete in Forestburg at a meet there on July 23, then the Regional Championship in Wetaskiwin Aug. 4 to 6, and finally the provincial championship for those who qualify in Calgary on Aug. 12.

“I think a lot of our swimmers have a really good chance of qualifying for provincials,” said Weske. “We have a lot of talent on our team — we only have a few practices left but we have some strong swimmers.”

First-place winners from swim meet

Girls 15 to 17 50 metre short fly: Presley Waknuk – 32.01 seconds

Boys 15 to 17 metre short fly: Keane Morrow – 28.85 seconds

Girls 9 to 10 100 metre individual medley: Zoe McCormick – 1:46:40

Girls 6 and under 25 metre short track: Aspen McTaggart – 27.40 seconds

Girls 15 to 17 50 metre short track: Presley Waknuk – 34.54 seconds

Boys 11 to 12 50 metre short free: Ashton Soosay – 32.94 seconds

Boys 11 to 12 100 metre long free: Ashton Soosay – 1:14:14

Boys 15 to 17 100 metre long free: Keane Morrow – 58.02 seconds

Girls 15 to 17 100 metre long fly: Presley Waknuk – 1:16:01

Girls 6 and under 25 metre flutterboard: Aspen McTaggart – 26.06 seconds

Girls 15 to 17 100 meter long back: Presley Waknuk – 1:15:80 seconds

Girls 6 and under 25 metre short breast: Tory Blanchard – 58.20 seconds

Girls 8 and under 25 metre short breast: Maia Hoogers – 28.04