Jackson Radkie ready to attend his first championship meet. (Image courtesy of Angie Abdou)

Jackson Radkie ready to attend his first championship meet. (Image courtesy of Angie Abdou)

Dolphins qualify record number of swimmers for Divisional Championships

Contributed by Angie Abdou

Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club

Nine Elk Valley Dolphins have qualified for end-of-season championship meets. Olivia Howse and Leah Soetaert have both qualified for Provincial Championships, to be held over March break. Howse qualified for so many Provincial Championship swims that she de-qualified for Northern and Interior Divisional Championships and will be unable to attend with her teammates this weekend in Penticton.

Coach Aidan Chudleigh will be traveling to the meet with six swimmers. Three first-time qualifiers (Ben Schmidt, Maddox Johnson, and Brody Dube) will be unable to attend due to injury or commitment conflicts.

Young swimmers Lily Barden (50 free, 50 breast) and Josie Howse (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, and 50 breast) are both excited to attend their first championship competition. Teenage swimmers Jackson Radkie (50 free, 50 fly) and Kailey Edwards (50 free, 100 free) have also qualified for Divisional Championships for the first time.

Chudleigh says he’s “super excited” for the meet. “Four swimmers will be experiencing a meet at this level for the first time. The trip to Penticton will expose them to the next stage of swimming. It’s a good opportunity to see the competition in the interior and then bring home that excitement to help them work hard and continue to develop.”

Two of the Dolphins’ more senior swimmers – Kiera Hansen and Leah Soetaert – will also be attending, both with a long list of qualifying times. Coach Chudleigh has big expectations for these seasoned athletes. “I’ll be looking to Kiera and Leah to help look after the younger swimmers and mentor them in the big meet environment.”

Katherine Hafke also qualified for Divisionals in three events in the 11 &12 age group, but in a stroke of bad luck turns 13 the weekend of the competition. She will, instead, be traveling to Mexico to compete in an open water 3K race with the goal of having three generations complete the race. Chudleigh approves. “The main point of swimming is to have fun, develop as good people, and have great life experiences.” Chudleigh feels confident the open water race will be a great life experience for Hafke.

Chudleigh is optimistic about what the Penticton meet symbolizes. “This will be the first big championship meet we’ve been to in over two years. It’s a huge step in going forward and recovering some normality in the sport.”

READ MORE: Dolphins head into championships with new coaching staff

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