Richmond Rapids Swim Club is gearing up for the short course championship season with their last tune-up meets before competing province-wide.
A team of 44 Rapids entered the Canadian Dolphins Swim Club's New Year's Invitational.
This squad represented the club's fastest age group swimmers with one of two goals in mind - either get their qualifications for AAA Provincials, the highest competition level within B.C., or improve their seeding at AAAs.
"December and January are about the toughest months of training in swimming," said Rapids assistant head coach Drew McClure.
"It's a big increase in total meters and intensity since it's the end of the endurance building cycle of the season. All of our swimmers are coming off a very challenging training camp and competing tired."
The Rapids, therefore, were trying to swim their fastest while more tired and sore than they've ever been. The results were more than positive.
The majority of the age group swimmers achieved 75 to 90 per cent best times, while the older swimmers were nearing their best race pace.
The Rapids saw one new AAA qualifier, Artur Yushko, 11, and several more nearing national age group time standards.
In addition, Ethan Chan won the meet's High Point Award for the single highest FINA-point swim for 11-year-old boys. His 200-freestyle was worth 324 points.
The same weekend, the Richmond Rapids sent five senior swimmers to Federal Way, WA to compete at the Washington Open.
"This was a great preparatory meet coming out of training camp," said Rapids head coach and director of swimming Robert Pettifer.
"It was a chance to fine-tune racing skills before Western Canadian Championships."
Since the meet was in the U.S., the pool was 25 yards long, as opposed to meters.
This helped the athletes focus on racing skills - starts, turns and finishes - rather than only times.
All swimmers were close to their best times when converted to meters, showing that they were in the right frame of mind.
Serena Xue was able to race herself into finals, after being seeded outside the top eight.
While racing a full morning program, the 14-year-old earned A finals for both the 100-and 200-breaststroke - the youngest swimmer in both.
Brandon de Costa also had noteworthy swims, inspite of recovering from a knee injury. He earned one B and two A finals over the weekend.
Michael Jakac-Sinclair raced through the busiest schedule of the Rapids, swimming six events, all near his best times converted.
Meet results also shine well on rookie senior swimmers Brandon Crawford and Tony Zeng. Coach Pettifer believes heartily that this experience will help them perform well at Westerns in Saskatoon - slated to start Feb 12.
The Provincial AAA Championships will be held in Victoria Feb. 28.
For results and more information about the club, visit richmondrapids.com or email email@example.com.