The long and short of it is the Foothills Stingrays used a Lethbridge meet as a launching pad.
The Stingrays were firing on all cylinders at the Winter Classic a unique Lethbridge meet in mid-January which saw preliminaries take place in short course and finals in long course leading to a myriad number of record-breaking performances by the swim club.
Foothills set six short-course age group club records, one overall club record along with eight long course age group records and a single overall club record. Additionally, nine new benchmarks were established in mixed relay.
Hailey Thiele was among the top record setters – establishing three records in both long and short course while the prolific Finlay Knox knocked off a combined eight new club record swims.
“It’s very special to me because I really like getting club records,” said Thiele, 8. “Because when I get club records it makes my sister (Abby) happy.”
Several of the athletes used the meet to vault into the provincials including Leah Jaber, Drayton Lonsberry, Deon Badenhorst, Jack Julian, Cassandra Kocsar, Caden Kotowich, Genevyeve Lindenback and Thiele.
The latter notched her provincial time standard in the 50m butterfly despite a few obstacles.
“Getting my provincial time stands out for me because usually I don’t expect to get my provincial time,” she said. “One thing I do remember is there was water in my goggles, I just kept on going. It wasn’t my first time doing 50 fly, the first time they just fell off and filled with water so it wasn’t that hard.
“What I like about the fly is it’s different from other strokes, you have different arm movement.”
Hailey and Abby now get the chance to swim at provincials together for the first time.
“It makes me really happy because I get to swim with Abby,” Hailey said.
Six previous qualifiers — Tess Barber, Maxwell Harrison, Mackenzie Hurd, Rory Knox, Jaden Melton and Molly Penn — added provincial qualifying swims for good measure.
Barber also added a championship time to her Rolodex.
Foothills kept the momentum going at its own Black and Blue Meet, Feb. 2-4, at the Riley Minue Pool.
The largest hosted meet of the season for the club featured teams from Calgary, High River, Cranbrook and Olds.
The Black and Blue is a team effort with athletes from every age group dipping into the pool along with an army of parent volunteers putting on the three-day event.
Next up for the swimmers is this weekend’s Pugsley’s Plunge followed two weeks later by the Southern Alberta Provincials – held Feb. 24-25. Both events are at the Repsol Sports Centre in Calgary.
For more information on the swim club go to foothillsstingrays.com