Elk Valley Dolphins finish 2021 on high note

Benjamin Schmidt and Brody Dube, young Dolphins in the finals. (Contributed by Angie Abdou / Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club)Benjamin Schmidt and Brody Dube, young Dolphins in the finals. (Contributed by Angie Abdou / Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club)
Kiera Hansen, wins bronze in 200 free. (Contributed by Angie Abdou / Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club)Kiera Hansen, wins bronze in 200 free. (Contributed by Angie Abdou / Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club)
Olivia Howse, with her 100 back gold medal (Contributed by Angie Abdou / Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club)Olivia Howse, with her 100 back gold medal (Contributed by Angie Abdou / Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club)
Leah Soetaert, with her 100 fly gold medal (Contributed by Angie Abdou / Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club)

Contributed by Angie Abdou

Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club

On December 17-20, fourteen Dolphins attended the Age Group Challenge hosted by the Cascade Swim Club at Calgary’s Repsol Sport Centre. The Fernie swimmers ranged from ten to sixteen years old and from those attending their first out-of-town meet to seasoned competitors and provincial qualifiers. All Dolphins achieved personal best times through the course of the weekend. The full three-days of intense swimming made for a successful conclusion to the challenging 2021 year.

Brody Dubé (10) and Benjamin Schmidt (11) both made A and B finals, a notable achievement in their first big city swim meet. Most impressively, Dubé placed 4th in the 50 free, missing a bronze medal by .04 of a second. She qualified for second swims in all seven of her events. Schmidt placed 5th in the 50 free. Both young swimmers were fired up on their success and worked hard to make technique and strategy improvements between races. They look forward to competing again in January.

The senior swimmers also had a slew of impressive results. The meet had a qualifying ceiling, meaning people with provincial qualifying times were unable to compete in those events. Olivia Howse and Leah Soetaert were, therefore, restricted to competing in their “off” events. Both put in impressive performances. Soetaert won a gold medal in the 100 fly, silver in the 50 fly, bronze in the 200 back, bronze in the 50 free, 4th place in the 100 free, and 5th place in the 100 breast. Olivia Howse had a thrilling come from behind race, with a breathtakingly fast final length, to win gold in the 100 back. Shortly after, she did a best time from lane eight (slowest seed) to place silver in the 50 fly, coming only .05 of second short of gold. She also won the 200 IM and earned silver in the 400 free.

Kiera Hansen also put in a strong weekend, continuing to pile up the best times and earn final spots in nearly all her events. She won a bronze medal for the 200 free and placed 5th in the 100 free, 6th in the 400 free, 7th in the 100 breast, 7th in the 50 breast, 10th in the 100 fly, 14th in the 200 IM.

Adam Hayden, who made his first finals recently at a November competition, continued the trend, earning second swims in four events. He placed 8th in the A final for the 100 breast and 6th in the B final for both the 50 breast and 100 back. He also earned an 8th place finish in the B final for the 200 free.

Kailey Edwards attended the meet for one day and earned an impressive 5th place finish in the B final of the 50 free.

Both Jackson Radkie and Katherine Hafke earned alternate positions, Radkie in the 200 IM and 100 back and Hafke in the 200 back.

Coaches are excited to see an increase in Fernie swimmers qualifying for finals, as well as many other swimmers getting close. The club will be back in the pool on January 4.

READ MORE: Young Dolphins compete in their first meet