Stingrays lock up long course banner
Swimming: Foothills earns Alberta's top medium club honours
Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012 06:00 am
The Foothills Stingrays Swim Club walked away from the long course provincials as the best in Alberta at its level.
The Stingrays finished first among medium-sized teams and fifth overall in the Alberta Age Group and Senior Championships, July 8 in Edmonton.
“The four teams that beat us are the large teams and they’re around 300 kids for each club and we’re only 100,” said Stingrays head coach Todd Melton. “We did really well and beat a lot of the larger teams that should be in that category.”
The provincial meet determines the top teams based on an aggregate system adding up all the points earned by swimmers aged 14 and under from every club. First-place swims are worth 50 points and second place finishes accumulate 30.
“It was close,” Melton said. “We only won by about 40 points in front of Medicine Hat and Red Deer was right behind.”
The Stingrays exceeded the expectations their head coach set for them prior to the meet.
“It was one of the most exciting Sunday’s I’ve ever had as a coach,” Melton said. “We figured if everyone swam the way they were supposed to swim that we would lose by a point. By the time the relays rolled around we were pretty much assured we were going to win.”
The Stingrays missed out on the banner at last year’s long-course provincials and the short-course provincials in the fall as well. Melton said it was important to cap off the swim season, a couple important meets left still remaining, with the club’s first banner since the short course provincials in March 2011.
“That last one Finlay (Knox) alone got 400 points, there was a couple individuals that earned that banner whereas this one was a huge group effort,” Melton said. “So it meant more this time.”
There may not have been any single performers single-handedly leading the charge for Foothills, but 12-year-old Layne Guidinger certainly did her part to ensure a team victory for the Stingrays.
Guidinger won the gold medal in the 1,500m freestyle and 50m breaststroke, silver in the 200m breaststroke and bronze in the 200m freestyle.
She swam to personal best of 37.3 seconds in the 50m breaststroke.
“I went in (after preliminaries) in second in the 50m free and I beat the girl who came in first by about a tenth (of a second),” said Guidinger, who shredded 18 seconds off her best ever swim in the taxing 1,500m freestyle.
“I won my heat, by a lot. We were double-laneing and I lapped my girl by 200m.”
The High River resident also swam to four new national times in the 800, 400 and 200m freestyle and 100m breaststroke.
She will get to test herself in eight swims at the Age Group Championships, starting today, July 25-29 at the Talisman Centre in Calgary.
Stingrays Cole Mitdtal and Blaise Evelyn earned their age group national times in their final opportunity to do so for the Age Group Championships.
Evelyn qualified through the 200m breaststroke, beating the qualifying standard by close to 1.5 seconds.
“There was a lot of pressure on me,” Evelyn said. “Before the race I was quite nervous and I talked to my coach (Thomas South) and he told me to not think about it and just race my race and that really helped me when I was on the box, ready to dive in.”
It wasn’t the only highlight from a terrific weekend for the 13-year-old.
“I was also 0.64 milliseconds away from 14-year-old national time in the 100m breaststroke and (made the final) in that event and came ninth,” he said.
Stingray Carly Ede earned silver medals in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and 50m butterfly, but was most pleased with her bronze medal performance in the 400m individual medley.
“I took off more than 12 seconds,” Ede said of her personal best 400m swim in Edmonton. “In preliminaries it was very hard because you have to do every stroke and it has all your weaknesses and your strengths. Finals felt a lot better because I learned how to race from the morning experience.“
The 14-year-old Ede looks to carry her momentum on to her next meet which happens to be the biggest meet of the calendar year for junior aged swimmers featuring 1,600 of Canada’s best swimmers.
Ede has high expectations for the aforementioned Age Group Championships, namely a senior national time in her specialty swim – the 50m backstroke — where she’s currently eight-one-hundredths of a second off the standard.
For more information on the Foothills Stingrays visit their website at www.foothillsstingrays.com.