A record number of senior swimmers will represent the Elk Valley at a provincial competition this week.
Five members of the Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club qualified for the 2018-2019 Winter Provincial Championships, to be held in Kamloops from March 7-10.
Head Coach Aidan Chudleigh said this is more than double the previous high of two last year. He attributed the club’s success to a positive culture.
“The kids work together really well and also with the extended season. Because the pool was open longer last year, we’ve had the ability to have a bigger base and train more,” he said.
“The culture and the pool being open a little bit longer has really contributed to that.”
Chudleigh said his swimmers have been training hard over the past six months for the event and will now ease off to ensure they’re rested for the competition.
“It’s going to be a really good test for our club and we’re looking forward to it. Hopefully we can get some kids to the next level,” he said.
Macdonagh Dressler will compete in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events, as well as the mixed medley and freestyle relays.
The 17-year-old is excited to return to provincials after qualifying at an earlier date than last season.
“I’m feeling more confident because I’ve had a lot of time to train and I know the pool,” he said.
“I’ve raced there four or five times now and so I’m quite comfortable in that environment, and I’ve been to provincials before, so I kind of know what it’s all about.”
Dressler trains nine times a week with each session lasting about 90 minutes, as well as stretching and rehabilitating a torn groin.
On top of his own training, he also coaches. Dressler has been with the Dolphins for 10 years and hopes to make swimming a lifelong sport.
“I’m looking into all the different universities and I think it’s a possibility for me to swim wherever I go, so that would be really fun because I love the sport, and I think it’s something that I would love to do for the rest of my life,” he said.
Dressler thanked Chudleigh for helping him to achieve his swimming dreams.
“I’ve always wanted to go to provincials but then it just never happened until Aidan came,” he said.
“We had no kids going to provincials and now there’s five, which is great… Aidan’s just made everything possible.”
Other local swimmers competing at provincials are: Olivia Howse (1500m, 400m, 200m, 50m freestyle; 100m backstroke; freestyle relay); Holly Soetaert (200m, 100m backstroke; mixed medley, freestyle relays); Leah Soetaert (200m, 100m backstroke; 200m, 100m butterfly; 400m individual medley; 50m freestyle; mixed medley relay); and Brock Tomlinson (100m backstroke; mixed medley, freestyle relays).