Orcas grab eight 'AA' qualifying times at junior provincials

By Nathan Kanter
March 12, 2018 - 5:00pm

The Battlefords Kinsmen Orcas finished in third place among small swim clubs at the Junior 'A' Provincials in Moose Jaw this past weekend, amassing 299 points despite only four athletes from the club competing.

Elizabeth Johnson, Zane Miller, Slade Pruden, and Rowan Tkatchuk managed 21 top-3 finishes and set eight 'AA' provincial qualifying times.

"The fact that our club finished third is very impressive," Coach Ally MacLeod said. "The final results for the small clubs placed Swift Current in first with 17 athletes and Lloydminster in second with 18 athletes. For us to be ranked just behind those clubs, who have amazing coaches and very talented athletes, with only four athletes on our roster, is so exciting."

Johnson led the way with four first-place finishes and four second-place finishes in the girls 11-12 age category. She also posted six 'AA' provincial qualifying times, which are times good enough to compete in the combined Manitoba vs. Saskatchewan Provincial Championships (ManSask), where teams from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and even British Columbia compete. Johnson already swam under the "AA" time standard when she competed in the 50-metre freestyle back in December.

Her top finishes this weekend came in the 50-metre breaststroke, 100-metre freestyle, and 50 and 200-metre backstroke. Johnson also set a new club record for girls 11-12 in the 400-metre individual medley, crushing her old personal best by over 10 seconds.

Pruden had the other two 'AA' provincial qualifying times, one in the 50-metre backstroke and one in the 50-metre freestyle in the boys 14 and over category. His time in the 50-metre backstroke was good for a first-place finish and another new Orcas record. Pruden also added one other second-place finish and four third-place finishes.

Miller set two new club records in the boys 11 and under category, thanks to his first-place finishes in the 50 and 100-metre breaststroke. He also added one second-place and one third-place finish. Miller's achievements were even more impressive by the fact it was his first time competing in three of the events.

Tkatchuk recorded a second-place finish in the 100-metre breaststroke and a third-place finish in the 200-metre breaststroke. She also notched six personal best times out of the eight races she swam.

"It was really great to see club records being taken down by new swimmers," MacLeod said. "We have more athletes who can be competitive in this province."

Although both Johnson and Pruden are eligible to compete in the long-course Prairie Championships in two weeks, Johnson has chosen to only swim at junior provincials. Pruden will compete on Saturday and Sunday, alongside Orcas teammates Madison Higgs, Brandon Nord, Taylor Parker and Reece Sommerfeld.

The event will take place in Regina, where the club is hoping to get more swims under the Western Canadian Championships time standard and the Canadian Junior Championships time standard. The Western Canadian Championships, which are held in Victoria, will take place in April.


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On Twitter: @NathanKanter11

Game three of SPHL finals tonight

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