Last week Golden’s top young swimmers returned from their final meet of the season, the provincials in Victoria, with several medals to show for their hard work.
The largest haul came courtesy of Josh Hiraoka, who ended his Golden Dolphins career in style with four medals, including a gold medal-winning performance that saw him break a provincial record.
Hiraoka narrowly missed out on a second gold medal in the 100m fly, falling an agonizing hundredth of a second short of the top spot on the podium.
Still, it was hardly a disappointment as Hiraoka managed to break the minute mark, something he had never done before in that event.
The real joy came later in the 50m butterfly, the Golden swimmer’s best event. Hiraoka topped a provincial record, finishing the race in a blazing 25.82 seconds.
“(The record) was my main goal at the start of the season…I was very happy when I saw that I’d done it. I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy after a race,” Hiraoka said.
Golden’s other individual medal went to Zara Johnson, who took home a silver in 100m freestyle despite a slow start.
“I started late off the blocks…(later) my mom asked me ‘what were you doing?’,” she laughed. A replay showed that every other swimmer was already in the water by the time Johnson reacted to the starting gun, but it didn’t matter. Johnson swam confidently throughout the race and managed to touch the wall second.
Golden’s other medals came courtesy of Hannah LaRoy and Roxy Coatesworth, who both swam the breast stroke leg of the regional team representing the Kootenays in their respective age categories. The girls each earned the right to represent the Kootenays after strong showings in the regional swim meet two weeks prior.
LaRoy was a part of the gold medal-winning Kootenay team that also set a provincial record.
“We went from third to first (over the final leg),” she recalled. “There was a lot of adrenaline and yelling…we all knew each other and we all just wanted to win.”
Coatesworth’s squad managed to take third, just a second or two ahead of the fourth place finishers.
“We were so happy,” she said.
The young swimmer says she enjoys breast stroke for one main reason.
“I like it because it feels like you’re a rocket shooting into the sky,” she explained.
Hiraoka will compete with the University of Lethbridge beginning in the fall while Johnson, LaRoy and Coatesworth are all planning to swim as part of the Golden Dolphins once again in 2016.