With this year’s provincials taking place in Kamloops, rather than the Lower Mainland, Golden Secondary School’s swim team was able to participate for the first time in recent years and posted some impressive results.
Grade 11s Zara Johnson, Hayley Plonka and Hannah LaRoy, as well as Grade 8 Quinn Morgan, competed in the provincials after making their way through regional qualifying in Cranbrook.
The foursome earned first place in the medley relay event at regionals and made the B final at the provincials, finishing in 11th place and shaving a whopping five seconds off the time they set at regionals.
The girls also experienced individual success, with each qualifying for provincials in their own events after great swims at the regionals.
In Kamloops, Johnson competed in 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle and earned a silver medal in the longer of the two events, as she did during the summer season with the Golden Dolphins.
“My times were pretty close to what I swam in the summer, so that was cool,” Johnson said.
LaRoy competed in 50m breaststroke as well as the 100m individual medley.
LaRoy made it into the B final in both events.
“(My IM) is the one that I was proud of, just because it was pretty close and that’s one of my better events,” LaRoy said.
Plonka swam in the 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke, the latter being an unusual distance for her as she’s used to swimming the breaststroke at the 100m distance in the summer.
“My 50 fly time was pretty close to my regular time,” Plonka said, adding that her split in the 50m breaststroke was close to what she expected as well.
Morgan made it to provincials in 100m free, 50m breaststroke and 100m breaststroke. She narrowly missed making the B final in the 100m breaststroke in her first year of high school swimming.
All four girls had a unique challenge in competing over the fall, having not spent any time in the pool since the summer swim season ended in August.
“The first time we were in the pool was at regionals,” Johnson said.
With that kind of layoff, the girls found that the level of their technique just wasn’t where it was back in the summer.
“The technique was really off but the cardio was fairly okay because I’d been training for ski season this winter, so it wasn’t too bad,” Morgan said.
“We just do our own workouts at home and hope for the best,” LaRoy laughed.
“It was pretty tough but I’ve really been trying to keep up with doing lots of things to help…lots and lots of cardio and just trying to do a lot of weight training,” Plonka added.
All four girls plan to get back in the pool next year to compete with the Golden Dolphins, as well as with the Golden Secondary swim team in the fall.