Young Stingrays have classic performance

Swimming: Foothills athletes race to provincials

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 06:00 am

Foothills Stingrays, from left, Kaitlyn Lumby, Georgia Podmore, Meagan Powers and Ireland Lawson were among the standout swimmers at the Corral City Classic in Calgary in late May.
Foothills Stingrays, from left, Kaitlyn Lumby, Georgia Podmore, Meagan Powers and Ireland Lawson were among the standout swimmers at the Corral City Classic in Calgary in late May.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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The long and short of the gruelling swim season is second chances are there for the taking.

Foothills Stingrays Kaitlyn Lumby and Georgia Podmore took the long way home to the Long Course Age Group Provincial Championships with qualifying swims at the Corral City Classic in Calgary on May 25.

“It’s unbelievable. I always hear ‘you can do it, you can do it’ and I was quite disappointed when I didn’t make it in short course,” said Lumby. “I finished and saw my time on the board I had to check my name, had to check my lane before I realized wow that’s actually me.

“I go back to the coaches table and they’re all looking at me with bright faces.”

Lumby’s first official provincial qualification comes just months after coming agonizingly close to making it during the short course season, though she did previously compete in a relay event at provincials.

She was pretty darned motivated to make good on her second opportunity of the marathon swim season.

The 12-year-old sprinted to her elusive A-time swim in the 50m butterfly in 34.55 seconds.

“I remember just diving into the water,” Lumby said. “It was underwater where I thought ‘okay I can do this.’”

Teammate Georgia Podmore brought the same attitude to the meet and qualified for the provincials for the second time in 2014.

Podmore shook off some initial nerves heading into the 50m breaststroke race to produce a 39.52 second swim.

“Right before the race my friend Rachel was swimming it and she missed her qualifying time by a four-hundredth (of a second) and I thought ‘oh no, she missed it, I’m going to miss it too,’” Podmore said. “I was worried and didn’t think I was going to make it in that event because of previous times I had more success in the 200 breast.”

Once in the pool, the 12-year-old opted to throw caution to the wind.

Wise decision.

“I was swimming it and really trying to reach, trying to get a glide in and I couldn’t see anyone so I thought I’m ahead, I’m going to try and stay ahead,” she said. “I wasn’t racing anyone I was basically just trying to be fast.

“I got under 42 seconds and the whole time in short course I was trying to get that time and finally got it and it was so unbelievable.”

Podmore added A-swims in the 100m and 200m breaststroke for good measure to put a firm stamp on her berth to provincials, held in Edmonton from July 2-6.

As Podmore knows first-hand, the event is anything but a walk-in-the-park both physically and mentally.

“I got into a lot of finals, but I learned that I’m not always going to be top,” Podmore said. “I didn’t realize how hard (provincials) would be and how tiring and how much work it would be.

“I remember at the end of it, I was just exhausted after having three full days of waking up at six and staying there (at the pool) until seven. Being at A’s and having all those expectations is just really tiring.”

As the Stingrays duo prepares for the provincial meet a pair of teammates took the next step towards booking their ticket into the marquee swimming event in the province.

Ireland Lawson and Meagan Powers parlayed their Corral City performances into spots at the Age Group Trials after both swimming to meet qualifying times (MQT) in Calgary.

Thirteen-year-old Lawson endured a couple bumps in the road to complete the 400m freestyle in a time 5:57.41 to move on to trials.

“Before I went in I visualized my race in my head and during it I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” she said with a laugh. “I just kicked as hard as I could, flailed my arms. I didn’t care about my technique or anything, just tried to get through the race.”

Needing just one qualifying swim Powers, 12, achieved her MQT in both the 400m and 800m freestyle races. It was a case of no pain, no gain in the latter.

“I was really nervous before,” she said of the arduous 800m race. “I was really tired after, my stomach really hurt and I had a really bad headache after.”

The Age Group Trials run June 13-15 in Medicine Hat.

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