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'True grit' helps Channel Cat swimmer win inaugural award in memory of Elaine Thompson

Even though the pandemic has kept swimmers out of the pool, 'there was still a need to take the time to recognize our swimmers,' coach said
The Orillia Channel Cats Swim Club recently held their annual awards banquet via video. The local swim club’s season was cut short due to COVID-19.

“Our athletes have been out of the water since the start of the pandemic, much like all other youth sports,” said head coach Meredith Thompson-Edwards. “That being said, there was still a need to take the time to recognize our swimmers.” 

The entire long-course season was cancelled, which meant no long-course Regional, Provincial or National level competitions.  

“We were looking forward to all levels of competition, especially the Olympic Trials as Blythe Wieclawek (15) qualified this year in the 100 backstroke,” said Thompson-Edwards. “It would have been an amazing experience for our club, we will prepare for next year with the hopes Trials will go as planned April 7-11 2021.”

Below are the awards recipients for the 2019-2020 swim season:    

Esprit de Corps: For the swimmer(s) who understands the importance of team spirit and displays it on a regular basis not only at meets but at practice and our weekly time trials.   

Names: Nathan McClinchey, Peyton Nie

Wavemaker Pool Spa Award: For the swimmer(s) who act as a team player, show perseverance, works hard in school, friendly attitude on and off the pool deck.    

Name: Holly McCool, Esmee Rosati

Most Improved Swimmers: Swimmers who have shown the greatest overall development this season in performance both at meets and practice, attitude, work ethic.

Sr Novice: Grace Hunter, Andrew Dilawri     

Bronze: Katie Heckendorn, Ben Thomson

Silver: Hayden Nie, Anna Holton

Gold: Chloe Smith, Owen McCool

Awards of Merit: Over the entire season, swimmers who show dedication to the sport in terms of work ethic, attitude, attendance, contribution, willing to step out of comfort zone, and performance at practices and meets.       

Sr Novice: Nadine Ackert, Sophia Brown

Bronze: Anna Vurma, Rebecca Mascioli, Maelle Bouchard, Zach Sternberg, Molly Hazel

Silver: Tristan Sekleski, Owen Wagner, Evangeline Cooke

Gold: Blythe Wieclawek, Flora Haslem

Unfortunately, this year we lost our long-time coach, Elaine Thompson, after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. As a result, we have introduced a new award in her memory. 

The Coach Elaine Thompson Memorial Award: For the swimmer who has a tremendous love for the sport, appreciates what the sport can give you, works hard at every opportunity, demonstrates “true grit” will not give up no matter what the obstacle and has a genuine willingness to improve.

Name: Meghan Rogers    

The awards banquet is also a time to recognize the accomplishments of our graduating swimmers. This year Holly McCool, Chloe Smith, Sarah Sneyd and Chilyn Fenton have graduated and all plan to attend university for the 2020-21 school year.

“We are proud of our graduating swimmers, and hope the skills they have obtained during their years with our club will carry them through the next chapter in their life,” Thompson-Edwards said