The Ponoka Pool Sharks trumped themselves at their Cookie Classic Swim Meet, the clubs third meet of the season and first home meet, held Dec 8 and 9.
Coach Bobbie-Jo Christensen said 75 per cent of club swimmers beat their previous best times. “That’s a huge success. With the amount of best times we’re having I’d say we’re having success.”
The Pool Sharks have 15 new swimmers who were competing for the first time at the Cookie Classic.
Coach Christensen feels the swimmers’ first two meets also went well. “(There were) lots of best times, lots of qualifying swims.”
A number of swimmers also achieved A and B standard times, provincially-set standards for swimmers to achieve to get to a provincial meet.
The Cookie Classic was the Pool Sharks’ last meet before Christmas break. When they come back they’ll be preparing for provincials. “I think I have a club high going to provincials,” said Coach Christensen, referring to the 11 to 12 swimmers who’ve made the times.
Provincial championships are in Calgary. Senior youths will also compete in Lethbridge and regionals will be held in Edmonton. Christensen says age groupers are swimmers up to 15 years old and anyone older than that is a senior swimmer.
Ponoka Pool Sharks aren’t planning on stopping at provincials, already a number of the swimmers have their eye on nationals. “Those are huge meets,” said Coach Christensen. “There can be 1,800 swimmers on deck.”
Mckenna Christensen went to nationals last year and she’s hoping to make it again. “It was fun, there was lots of different people there,” she said. “It was a different swim meet because there was people from all across Canada.”
Christensen, who placed between 10th and 20th for her breaststroke and 200 metre races, said meets that big are stressful but she’s still there to have fun.
“A meet like this is less stressful,” she said, referring to the Cookie Classic. “It’s mostly for little kids and you just have to swim for your best time.”
Two other Pool Sharks, Lanny Wildcat and Blake Shimp, also hope to make nationals this year. “Nationals is a big deal,” said Shimp.
“Nationals is my goal but I don’t think I’m going to get it,” Wildcat added. He says he’s working hard to get there but still has a ways to go.
Both boys are improving their times and can finish their 400 m races between four and five minutes. “We’re here to have fun but it’s also stressful when we get to do our swims,” said Shimp.