It was all smiles and fun at the Meadow Park Sports Centre on May 28 and 29 as the Whistler Sea Wolves Swim Club hosted its first meet since 2019.
“The whole event went really well. We haven’t run one in two seasons, which is basically three years for us, so we were a little worried about running this thing, but parents stepped up and the kids had a great time. We had 145 kids from five clubs, some great swimming happened, it just went really well,” said Sea Wolves meet manager David Higgins.
“The kids were very excited. We have a lot of kids who haven’t really seen what a swim meet looks like, a lot of parents haven’t seen what a swim meet looks like, so they get the full experience of a swim meet, and for the kids, the swimming is ultimately secondary because they all get to hang around with their buddies then go do a swim.”
Leading the way for the Sea Wolves was 17-year-old Kieran Higgins, son of David and head coach Brandi Higgins, who ended the day with a first-place finish in the 200-metre individual medley and a couple fifth-place finishes in the 50m breaststroke and 100m backstroke.
While there was some competition in the higher age groups, the meet in Whistler was more of a stepping-stone type event designed for the less competitive swimmers to make their times to qualify for bigger swim meets around the province.
However, according to Brandi, it was still good practice for Kieran to be put to the test after a few years of being the fastest kid in his home pool.
“He performed really well. He’s kind of been the fastest, biggest kid in the water for a couple years now, so being challenged on his home turf was a really good push for him,” said Brandi.
“Hollyburn brought some pretty quick kids that were his age group and they pushed, and he stepped up. That’s one of the things that we’ve been impressed with is that when he’s been challenged in the water he steps up and takes it into that next level of racing.”
But Kieran wasn’t the only Whistler swimmer to have a good day. In fact, the Sea Wolves saw 183 “best times” throughout the event—a testament to the amount of growth and improvement the kids showed over the past two years while they’ve been stuck only training.
“It was very obvious that they grew and improved. I think from a team standpoint it was a great team builder in that over COVID the kids didn’t really get to interact between age groups before,” said Brandi.
“But one of the things about swim meets is you’ve got the seven-year-olds with the 17-year-olds and they hang out and support each other and cheer each other on. So that was really great to see that interaction between all the age groups.”
Other standouts from the event for the Whistler Sea Wolves included Maggy Smith, in the 11-12 girls category, who finished first in the 50m freestyle, second in the 100m backstroke and third in the 200m individual medley. In the same age group, Olivia Persson also walked away with a couple podiums with a third in the 50m freestyle and a first in the 100m backstroke.
In the U10 age group, Charlotte Maclennan finished second in the 50m freestyle and third in the 100m backstroke, while Jack Hally finished first in both the 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle.
With the season winding down soon, one of the last events for the club will be a three-day swim meet in Kamloops this weekend, where the 12 participating swimmers from the club will try to make the times necessary to qualify for the divisional and provincial meets later this year.
“The season is almost done, so we have two weeks of practice left and if they qualify for divisionals or provincials they’ll keep going for the rest of the season,” said Brandi.
“[My expectations] are that we’re having fun and keep improving, and then going forward just knowing we have a lot of new kids coming in and they are all very strong, so if we can channel that strength and fitness into swimming that would be fantastic.”