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Channel Cats shatter club records at provincials, swim into nationals

Caleb Near and Blythe Wieclawek qualified for Canadian Championship thanks to strong showings at Ontario Championship
Ironman Pentathlon Finishers
Several Orillia Channel Cat swimmers competed in the Ironman Pentathlon in Barrie. Submitted photo

The Orillia Channel Cats Swim Club recently competed in two competitions held on the same weekend.   

The Ontario Swimming Championships were Feb. 28 to March 3 and the Barrie Pentathlon March 2-3.

The Ontario Swimming Championships is a long-course provincial qualifying meet. Swimmers have to achieve a certain time standard in each event in order to attend.      

Owen Rosati, 16, Caleb Near, 16, and Blythe Wieclawek, 13, competed in the meet.

Rosati raced in the 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle and 200 backstroke and had a personal best time in the 200 backstroke.     

Near qualified for Canadian Swimming Trials in the 100 backstroke (59.67), won a silver medal in that event and set new club records in the 100 backstroke as well as the 200 backstroke (2:13.07).     

Wieclawek competed in the 50 freestyle (28.20) and 100 backstroke, breaking club records in both events. She qualified for Canadian Junior Swimming Championships in the 100 backstroke (1:08.50).    

“It was great to have Caleb and Blythe make national times at their first long-course meet this season,” says head coach Meredith Thompson-Edwards.    

The same weekend, swimmers from the Bronze, Silver and Gold training groups participated in the Barrie Trojan Pentathlon meet. Swimmers were required to compete in five events during a session.       

There were three categories: Ironman Pentathlon, which consisted of the 200 butterfly, 400 Individual Medley, 800 freestyle, 400 freestyle and 1,500 freestyle, middle distance which was 100 metres of each stroke plus 200 Individual Medley and the sprint pentathlon 50 metres of each stroke and 100 Individual Medley.      

Channel Cats who completed the Ironman pentathlon included: Flora Haslem, Chilyn Fenton, Isabella Holmgren, Ava Holmgren, Meagan Mackenzie and Ariel McGee.    

“This was a big challenge and these swimmers willingly took advantage of the opportunity and proved how strong they are,” says Coach Tatum Haslem.       

Swimmers Indiana Abram (11) set a new club record in the 200-metre butterfly (2:58.92) and Chilyn Fenton (17) set a new 1,500 metre freestyle club record (18:34.77).        

Other swimmers who competed in the Pentathlon included: Katie Heckendorn, Tess Mackenzie, Grier Kershaw, Marit Kershaw, Hannah Kennedy, Jacob Shivers, Jackson Denne, Owen Wagner, Evan Wagner,Tristan Sekleski, Adair Wieclawek, Marley Grave, Alexander Baillie, Meghan Rogers,Charlee Tillmanns, Anna Holton, Nathan McClinchey and Eve Cosco.