Katherine Hafke (1st 200 free and 100 breast) in the foreground and Layla Rella (1st 50 and 100 back) in the background. (Image courtesy of Matt Kuhn)

Katherine Hafke (1st 200 free and 100 breast) in the foreground and Layla Rella (1st 50 and 100 back) in the background. (Image courtesy of Matt Kuhn)

Halloween Howler a treat

Contributed by Angie Abdou

Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club

On October 30 and 31, the Elk Valley Dolphins hosted their first sanctioned meet since Covid-19 restrictions went into place in March 2020. Teams came from Nelson, Cranbrook, Columbia Valley (Invermere/Radium). The meet was split into two daily sessions with 13 and over swimming in the morning and 12 and under swimming in the afternoon. The division helped open the meet to maximum swimmers while maintaining good health protocol. In total, the meet had four teams, 120 volunteers, and 63 competitors. There were 339 individual swims, including 206 personal best times.

The Dolphins showed up in fine form ready to compete. Every single swimmer got multiple personal best times, and many swimmers swam best times in every event. A few disqualifications served as good reminders of where the swimmers need to continue to focus on perfecting the details. Overall, coaches were excited to see the athletes put all their hard work into action, demonstrating fast turns, good underwater push-offs, and strong technique.

The event also served as an opportunity for Kootenay coaches to reconnect and initiate plans to reinvigorate the Kootenay Developmental Squad to cooperate on improving swimming in the region.

Meet Manager Aysha Haines admits the support crew was a little rusty after an extended time without meets: “There were a lot of cobwebs to dust off to host the Halloween Howler this weekend,” she says, “but our volunteers did an amazing job. They kept their calm through the inevitable technical issues that come with running computerized equipment in an aquatic centre and focused on what was most important: the swimmers having a great time. The numbers show we had a successful (if small) swim meet, but it was the cheers of the swimmers for their teammates in the water that really showed us the competition was a true success.”

Of special note, three Dolphins posted qualifying times for Divisional Championships: Maddox Johnson in the 50 breast, Kiera Hansen in the 200 free, 200 breast, 50 breast, 100 breast, 100 free, and 50 fly, and Olivia Howse in the 200 free, 100 back, 50 free, 50 back, 200 back, and 100 free.

The Dolphins’ youngest swimmer to compete was nine-year-old Layla Rella, burning up the pool in all four strokes. Rella earned first place in the 100 back and 50 back and second place in the 50 breast, 50 free, 100 IM, and 100 free.

Other first place finishes include Maddox Johnson (50 free, 50 breast, 50 back, 50 fly), Josie Howse (100 back), Brody Dube (50 breast, 50 free, 100 IM, 100 free), Benjamin Schmidt (50 free, 100 IM, 100 free, 50 back), Charlie Nicholson (200 IM), Kiera Hansen (200 breast, 100 breast, 50 fly), Olivia Howse (200 free, 200 back, 100 free, 100 back, 50 free, 50 back), Ava Pollock (200 breast), Avery Sikkes (100 fly), Jackson Radkie (100 back), Kailey Edwards (50 breast, 50 free), Katherine Hafke (200 free, 100 breast), Ethan Sauve (50 fly), Cole Bailey (50 back, 50 free), Sadie Smith (50 back).

This Friday, November 5, the high-school swimmers will be competing at Zone Championships hosted by Fernie Secondary School at the Fernie Aquatic Centre.