Pictured: Medalists Tatum Kipnik, Leah Soetaert and Brock Tomlinson. (Contributed by Angie Abdou)

Three Dolphins earn medals at summer divisional championships

Contributed by Angie Abdou

Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club

The 2020-2021 swim season was far from normal. The athletes did not attend a single live competition. However, nearly the entire squad kept up regular training, stoking their competitive spirit with the occasional virtual race series. The Dolphin coaching team is proud of the club’s retention rate and all the team’s hard working young swimmers, particularly their display of perseverance and resilience.

Eight swimmers qualified for the Divisional Championships for the interior and northern regions of British Columbia. The team spent the final week of the season racing at the Fernie Aquatic Centre, and coaches submitted times by email. Six of the Dolphins made the top eight rankings.

As with everything else in the past year and a half, this Divisional Championships was not a normal competition. Not only was it virtual, but some events also had very few competitors. That makes it difficult to know what to make of the results. Third place might sound great until we learn there are only three swimmers in the event. In fact, eight place might be a more impressive finish, if the athlete is competing against a bigger field. More than ever, the results need context. More than ever, swimmers are competing against themselves and their own goals and should evaluate their performance only against that standard.

However, the diminished field does nothing to diminish these athletes’ accomplishment. The reason for the decreased number of swimmers is that it’s been an exceptionally challenging eighteen months, and many swimmers simply did not stick it out for the final competitions. All the Dolphins deserve recognition for their tremendous work ethic in tough times.

Three Dolphins earned medals. Tatum Kipnik in the women’s 15 and over age group won third in the 100 back and first in the 200 back. Leah Soetaert won silver in the women’s 15 and over 50 back. Brock Tomlinson placed 3rd in the 15 and over men’s 200 back.

Other notable Fernie performances include Carly Beck who placed 7th in the girls 13 and 14 year old 50 breaststroke and 6th in the 50 free. Maddox Johnson placed 7th in the boys 13 and 14 year old 50 breaststroke in his first Divisional Championships. 15 and over Tatum Kipnik placed 4th in the 50 breast and 5th in the 200 breast. 15 and over Holly Soetaert shone in the butterfly events, placing 5th in the 50 fly and 8th in the 100 fly. Leah Soetaert, who has several years left in the 15 and over age group, added to her silver in 50 back with a solid 6th place in the 50 free.

Really, though, all the Dolphins who completed this rough season are winners. Swim Canada has announced a return to meet plan, and Dolphin coaches are excitedly preparing next year’s competition schedule. Watch for Elk Valley’s swimmers fired up and returned to racing in the 2021-2022 season.