Foothills quartet signing the right note

Swimming: Stingrays send four more to age group championships

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 02:43 pm

Foothills Stingrays, from left, Emily Ede, Max Gurtler, Justin D'Ailly and Mitchel Ochitwa all qualified through trials for the Age Group Championships.
Foothills Stingrays, from left, Emily Ede, Max Gurtler, Justin D'Ailly and Mitchel Ochitwa all qualified through trials for the Age Group Championships.
Remy Greer/OWW

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A four year trial came to a head last weekend for a Foothills Stingray.

Emily Ede completed the long journey to the provincial championships with courage under fire at the last chance qualification meet at the Age Group Trials in Medicine Hat on June 14.

“It was a lot of pressure for me because I really wanted to make it, I’ve never made it before and all my friends are going so I wanted to,” said Ede. “I was really nervous, but really excited too. I took a lot of time to prepare for my races and just got into a zone.”

Needing either a gold-medal performance or an A-time at the weekend meet, the 14-year-old took top-spot in the 200m backstroke after narrowly missing out on a medal on the first-day of competition.

“I was ahead of everyone and then they all caught up to me (on the third 50),” Ede said. “They were ahead and off the wall I really wanted to win so I just went harder then I’ve ever gone.

“I was really happy. I couldn’t stop smiling.”

She can thank her older sister for contributing to the breakthrough swim. Sixteen-year-old Carly Ede, one of the most accomplished Stingrays on top of being a coach with the team, offered some helpful tips as a backstroke specialist.

“She tells me things she does on her backstroke to help her,” Ede said.

“I never used to wear a nose-plug and I would always get disqualified because I would turn on my side and she was helping me with my under waters because that’s one of our advantages.”

Teammate Mitchel Ochitwa used experience to his advantage to successfully navigate through trials using the approach of leaving it all in the pool.

“You just throw everything into it because you have really nothing to lose because it’s your last chance,” Ochitwa said.

“My first day I was kind of disappointed because I was hoping to get my A-time in the 100 breast and was close to that and then second day I got third again in the 50 breast.”

Persistence finally paid off in the final day of competition as Ochitwa blitzed the field, winning the 200m breaststroke by eight seconds.

“I didn’t go in thinking I was going to win. I was racing against the clock and I was .7 off my A-time,” Ochitwa said. “I sprinted the entire thing and felt really powerful and it was a really good race.”

Teammate Maxwell Gurtler booked his ticket to provincials in the 200m butterfly. The 13-year-old added gold medal swims in the 400m IM and 800m freestyle for good measure.

“I try to not think about (winning) at all, to just swim it and not really care and that’s when I do my best,” said Gurtler. “If you’re stressed about it you’re going to do really bad.”

Twelve-year-old Justin d’Ailly didn’t let stress play a factor in Medicine Hat. He found the elusive A-time swim in the 400m freestyle and, later, in the 800m freestyle as well.

“I just focus on my race and don’t worry about stress,” he said. “I went into the (400m race) not worried about my time and ended up doing really well.”

The Stingrays qualifiers will be hoping for more of the same at provincials as they taper in advance of the Age Group Championships which run in Edmonton from July 2-5.

For more information go to foothillstingrays.com

rgreer@okotoks.greatwest.ca


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