Orillia swimmers made quite a splash this week at the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association (OFSAA) swimming championship at the Pan Am Centre in Scarborough.
Orillia Secondary School (OSS) competitor Caleb Near led the local pack as the talented teen earned a silver medal in the Open Boys' 100-metre backstroke.
Near, a Grade 11 student, managed a personal best time of 57.07 to capture the provincial medal.
He had competed in the preliminary heat earlier that morning and ended up ranked first. In the finals, however, he was defeated by a Toronto swimmer who shattered the OFSAA record in that event.
Near also swam swam in the Open Boys' 200 Individual Medley and crushed his qualifying time by eight seconds, noted OSS swim team coach Missi Waite.
Near clocked an impressive time of 2:09 in the event which placed him fourth overall, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.
Charlie Pallopson of OSS also qualified for OFSAA and competed in the junior boys’ competition. Pallopson swam to a personal best time and missed earning a spot in the final by less than a second.
Zac Waite and Hughie Edwards of Twin Lakes Secondary School and Owen Rosati of Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School also represented Orillia at the provincial high school championship.
Rosati competed in the 100 backstroke with Near, advanced to the A division final and placed sixth among the province’s top swimmers.
Edwards made it to the B final and swam to a 9th place finish in the 100-metre individual medley.
Waite did not qualify for finals, but recorded a personal-best time.
Swimmers from all three high schools practise together at the Orillia YMCA from October to December leading up to the Georgian Bay Secondary School Athletics championship.
OSS had 38 swimmers compete at GBSSA, while the teams from the other two local high schools were considerably smaller.
In total, more than 2.000 athletes competed in various divisions and disciplines at this week’s OFSAA swimming event.