Stingrays breaking through

Swimming: Foothills' athletes among nation's best in pool

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 06:00 am

Foothills Stingray swimmer Carly Ede is the third fastest 14-year-old in Canada this year in the 50m backstroke.
Foothills Stingray swimmer Carly Ede is the third fastest 14-year-old in Canada this year in the 50m backstroke.
Courtesy Iris Jackson

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A Foothills Stingray is making a habit of podium finishes amongst the nation’s best 14-year-old swimmers.

Fourteen-year-old Carly Ede established a personal best time after completing a brisk swim of 31.34 to become the third fastest 14-year-old in Canada in the 50m back and finished second in the all-ages division to an 18-year-old at the Edmonton Keyano Invitational swim meet, on May 7.

Ede was one-tenths of a second off the senior national standard in the 50m back, meaning she just missed out on a spot at the senior national meet used as qualifying for Olympic trials.

“It’s kind of overwhelming because if I could have done something different in the race I could have got it,” Ede said. “I’m hoping to get my senior national time and go for senior nationals in the summer against an open age group. I’d be competing against everyone who competitively swims.”

Ede is fresh off the Best of the West training camp for the elite 13 and 14 year olds from Western Canada and run in conjunction with the Olympic and Paralympic Trials in Montreal, where she finished first in the 50m back.

“I just tried some new things that they taught me at the training camp,” said Ede, who incorporated more of a fish kick to the swim. “When you’re underwater you go on your side instead of your back.”

Teammate Jotham D’Ailly also benefited from some technical instruction to establish new bests in the 400 and 200m individual medley.

The individual medley involves all four swimming strokes — freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly — leaving no room for an area of weakness.

“My butterfly has really improved, just getting my arms over the water and working on when I should be going fast with my stroke,” he said.

“In the 400m IM, I took off 27 seconds I missed my national time by around a second and missed a medal by .4 seconds.”

The 14-year-old Okotokian missed his national time by close to a second, but secured another personal best and provincial A time, as he did in the 400m IM.

“Right now I’m second in the province in the 400m IM,” D’Ailly said.

“It feels good to be number two in the province and at provincials I want to get second and even go for first.”

The fifth-year Stingray attributed his breakthrough swim meet to Stingrays head coach Todd Melton and the experience he gleaned at swim camp in California.

“He’s really pushing me,” D’Ailly said of Melton. “He told me after the beginning of the year at our training camp in California that he wanted to breakout and start training really hard and I did at the camp.”

Eleven-year-old Okotokian Miranda Kasko established the new national standard in 2012 in her age group for the 200m backstroke at the Edmonton meet with a lightning quick swim of 2:37. Kasko finished third in the all ages of the 200m back in Edmonton and qualified for the age group nationals swim meet.

“I was looking at the boards to see what place I got and I saw that I got third and then I turned my head over and my mom was screaming at me that I got my national time,” Kasko said of her national best. “I was really excited.”

She said she received some event specific pointers from Stingrays coach Thomas South heading into the race.

“He’s been telling me to sprint on the third 50 (metres) because that’s where everyone normally goes slow,” Kasko said.

Meanwhile back in Okotoks at the Stingrays’ annual Spring Fling meet, May 5-6 at the Okotoks Pool, three swimmers graduated from the Junior Circuit as a result of swimming to provincial A times. Stingrays’ Kenna Clifford, Jada Cotham and Lucy Urvan now move on to the provincial trials, June 15-17 in Lethbridge.

“Once they actually qualify for provincial trials then they don’t actually compete in this (Junior) league anymore,” said Stingrays coach Emma Hesterman. “They now compete in invitational and qualifying meets.”

Clifford, the daughter of Stingrays coach Cara Clifford, swam to a personal best of 6:25 in the 400m freestyle at both the Spring Fling and the Chinook Invitational meets to book her ticket to Lethbridge. The 11-year-old had been working towards the qualification for a year.

“It’s really good and I think it’s a great achievement,” said Clifford who called confidence the driving force for the personal conquest.

The 400m freestyle was fruitful to nine-year-old teammate Jada Cotham who broke the age group provincial qualifying time of 7:01 in the 10 and under division by a second. Cotham said she overcame some difficulties with vision in the race.

“My goggles fogged up and I had to watch the person in the next lane,” she said of her 400m swim. “I thought I was going to get a bad time.”

Fellow Stingray Lucy Urvan took off nine seconds from the qualifying standard in the same event, swimming to a time of 6:52 in the 400m freestyle.

“I was really proud of myself that I actually got it because I’ve been working really hard,” Urvan said. “When I was swimming the last length I just imagined the wall as being my time so I just pushed myself to get to the wall.”

The Stingrays will also be sending 15 members between the ages of 11 and 14 to the Alberta Summer Games trials, June 10 in Calgary, for the Zone 2 team at the games.

For more information on the Foothills Stingrays Swim Club go to


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