Trial by fire for trio of Stingrays

Swimming: Three Foothills swimmers qualify for age group event

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 05, 2014 08:53 pm

Foothills Stingray Sophie-Ana Cives swims the breaststroke at a practice at the Riley Minue Pool. Cives qualified for the age group trials through the Pugsley's Plunge swim meet in Calgary.
Foothills Stingray Sophie-Ana Cives swims the breaststroke at a practice at the Riley Minue Pool. Cives qualified for the age group trials through the Pugsley's Plunge swim meet in Calgary.
Remy Greer/OWW

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Age was just a number for three members of the Foothills Stingrays.

Okotoks swimmers Sophie-Ana Cives, Kailey Ness and Madisson Cobb inched closer to provincial glory by punching their ticket to the Age Group Trials in late February.

For 12-year-old Cives it was positive visualization leading to a qualifying swim at the Pugsley’s Plunge meet at the Talisman Centre on Jan. 25-26.

“What I did before is lay on my mat and tried to think of the race and me putting the effort in and touching the boards and seeing that time,” said Cives, a Grade 7 student at John Paul II Collegiate. “That’s what my coach (Emma Hesterman) told me to do and I did it.”

The 12-year-old performed double duty to make it to the trials as she previously qualified at the age of 11 and was forced to re-qualify after ageing up, where the time standards are more stringent with age.

Cives cut five seconds from her personal best in the 200m IM, swimming two seconds underneath the meet qualifying time with a race of 2:15.

“My coach told me to try my best and go for it a little stronger than the others on the fly and go strong on the (backstroke) and not use it as a recovery,” Cives said of the strategy in the four-tiered individual medley. “Then breaststroke take most of your effort in and then do whatever you have on the (freestyle).”

Having been through the trials before, the veteran Stingray knows all you can control is your own effort at the high-stakes swim meet.

“That’s all that matters in that meet, you’ve gone so far and there’s little that you can do when you’ve tried so hard and got your technique and your stroke up,” Cives said. “I just want to get good times and maybe go a little further.”

Teammate Kailey Ness insured her push in the competitive season has gone a little further, too.

Ness, 10, left no doubt in her bid to make it through to trials after earning three meet qualifying swims – 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle 100m IM – at Pugsley’s Plunge.

“The 200 was my first one and 200 is one of my favourites,” said Ness, a Grade 5 student at Dr. Morris Gibson School. “I swam it really hard and looked at the clock and had no idea I got my time until Emma told me.”

Ness will be making her debut at the Age Group Trials, Feb. 21-23 in Calgary, the precursor to the provincial championships.

“I’m so happy I’m going. I’ve always wanted to go,” said Ness, a second-year Stingray. “You swim the event to try and get a B-time then you can go to A’s.”

Madisson Cobb is no stranger to trials, but will be making her first appearance flying Stingrays team colours since moving to the foothills from Medicine Hat.

Cobb earned a berth through the Pronghorn Classic in Lethbridge in the 400m freestyle.

“That swim was breathtaking,” said Cobb, a Grade 6 student at Westmount School. “It was good all the way through.”

The 11-year-old has been fighting through a knee injury sustained at a meet in Saskatoon last season.

“It just gave out and tweaked and moved to a different place and it will never get better,” said Cobb. “It’s kind of hard to do a whip-kick (the leg action in the breaststroke), but I still push through it. I want to push myself so I can do better because I love swimming.”

Black and Blue

Foothills swimmers have a unique opportunity to make their last chance at trial qualification count in familiar surroundings this weekend.

The Stingrays host their annual Black and Blue Meet, Feb. 8-9 at the Riley Minue Pool.

For more information on the swim club go to


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