Heading into the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Provincials, Coach Aidan Chudleigh said that medals weren’t the team’s main goal. “We want to see our swimmers show up for the competition, have fun, perform well under pressure and come back with personal best times,” said Chudleigh.
Days before the competition, Olivia Howse, the team’s top performer, dislocated her knee in a game of recreational soccer, and the team’s chances at medals decreased.
The Dolphins, though, exceeded expectations. Eleven-year-old Josie Howse attended her first provincial championships with her parents joking that with Olivia injured all hopes rested on the youngest Howse. Josie responded by taking off sixteen seconds in her 400 free to qualify for finals and then taking off four more seconds at finals to win herself a bronze medal.
“We’re excited about the depth in our younger swimmers now,” said Chudleigh. “The coaching staff is looking forward to next year.”
Leah Soetaert also earned herself a spot on the podium, doing a Western Nationals qualifying time in the 50 back to place third.
Dolphins broke four provincial records during the weekend: Kiera Hansen setting new records in the 100 breast and 200 fly, while Leah Soetaert broke the club records in the 50 back and 100 fly.
Jackson Radkie qualified for his first provincials and swam all best times.
In addition to her bronze medal in the 400 free, Josie Howse also placed 9th in the 200 free, 12th in the 50 breast, and 14th in the 50 free and 50 back. Kiera Hansen earned consolation final placings in the 1500 free, 200 fly, and 100 breast. As well as her medal finish in the 50 back, Leah Soetaert also made consolation finals in the 50 free.
Though injured, Olivia Howse attended the meet to support her teammates and be a great leader.
Coach Chudleigh deemed the meet a strong finish to a successful year. Next week, four Dolphins will compete for Summer BC Games drawing this year’s swim season to a close.
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