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Channel Cat swimmers shine at provincial competitions

Competitors break club records and qualify for national-level events

Swimmers from the Orillia Channel Cats Swim Club recently competed in two provincial level meets. March 1-4 was Long Course Age Group Provincial Championships in Etobicoke where the fastest age group swimmers in Ontario were competing.     

“Swimmers have to meet the provincial standard, which is not an easy task," said Channel Cats head coach Meredith Thompson-Edwards.

Caleb Near, Hughie Edwards, Grier Kershaw, Owen Rosati and Blythe Wieclawek were in attendance. Near (15) made finals in 100 backstroke (1:02.06) placing 6th overall and qualified for the Canadian Swimming Championships being held in Montreal April 5-8.   

Wieclawek (12) placed 8th overall in 50 freestyle (28.65) and qualified for the Canadian Eastern Swimming Championships being held in Windsor April 12-16.  

“Blythe made the 13-year-old standard but, unfortunately, cannot attend as the minimum age to compete at Easterns is 13 for females," said Thompson-Edwards.      

Hughie Edwards, Rosati and Kershaw raced hard as well and swam personal bests throughout the meet.

The Long Course AA Provincial Championships were held from March 8 to 11; again swimmers have to meet a qualifying standard in order to attend.     

Grier Kershaw, Hughie Edwards, Megan Widmer, Hayley French and Blythe Wieclawek participated in the meet. All five swimmers qualified for finals in their events, and 16 races were best times.      

Wieclawek qualified for Canadian Junior Championships in the 50 freestyle (28.45) which will be in Winnipeg at the end of July. Wieclawek (12) also broke long course club records in the following events: 50 freestyle (won Gold), 100 freestyle (1:03.36), 100 backstroke (won Silver 1:11.62), 200 backstroke (2:39.94) and 200 Individual Medley (2:46.42).    

Hayley French (13) qualified for Canadian Eastern Championships in the 100 (won Silver 1:09.74) and 200 butterfly (won Bronze) and also set a new club record in the 200 butterfly (2:39.48).     

Hughie Edwards (16) placed 2nd in 200 backstroke, 200 Individual Medley, 400 Individual Medley, 100 backstroke, 4th in 100 breaststroke and 5th in 200 breaststroke.    

Grier Kershaw (17) placed 2nd in 100 freestyle, 400 freestyle, and 4th in 100 breaststroke and 200 Individual Medley. Kershaw also set a new long course club record in 400 freestyle.     

Megan Widmer (16) placed 4th in 50 and 100 freestyle, 7th in 100 backstroke and 8th in 100 butterfly.      

“We had a very successful Provincials and AA Provincials, best times and our swimmers are qualifying for higher level competitions. We are looking forward to the next few weeks in training," said Thompson-Edwards.