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RECORD-SETTING SWIMS – The Whitehorse Glacier Bears travelled to Victoria for the Xmas Cracker competition Dec. 8-10, returning home with 14 new club records and new personal-best times from all 22 swimmers. Photo submitted by SIMON BLAKESLEY

Swimmers dive into record books in Victoria

Twenty-two swimmers from the Whitehorse Glacier Bears made a splash in Victoria at the 2017 Pacific Coast Swimming Xmas Cracker Meet Friday to Sunday.

By Dustin Cook on December 14, 2017

Twenty-two swimmers from the Whitehorse Glacier Bears made a splash in Victoria at the 2017 Pacific Coast Swimming Xmas Cracker Meet Friday to Sunday.

The annual meet hosted about 700 young swimmers from Western Canada.

The Glacier Bears broke 14 club records at the meet led by 12-year-old Thomas Gishler with six new records.

Gishler finished with two podium finishes coming in the last day of the meet. He finished third in the 400 metre individual medley in a time of 5:36.86, a new Glacier Bears record in the boys 11-12 year old division.

Later on Sunday, Gishler came in second place in the 800 metre freestyle race, setting another club record in 10:16.16 finishing just 17 seconds behind the winner and over a minute ahead of the third-place finisher.

Gishler also set new club records in the 200 and 400-metre freestyle races, the 200-metre individual medley and the 200-metre butterfly.

In total, Glacier Bears head coach Malwina Bukszowana said athletes qualified for 28 finals not including the relays and 50-metre races which were run as timed finals.

The team had two third-place finishes in the girl’s 15 and over division in the 50-metre races.

Hannah Kingscote placed third in the 50-metre backstroke and Cassidy Cairns took the bronze in the 50-metre breaststroke.

Bukszowana said the weekend of racing was a huge success for the club with every swimmer breaking a personal-best time and some even setting best times in all of their races.

She said via email that on top of all of the high finishes and record-breaking results, the younger athletes swam very well, some in their first meet outside of the territory.

“For most of those swimmers, Xmas Cracker was the first meet they ever competed in B.C.,” Bukszowana said in an email. “The amount of swimmers on deck or in the water during the warm up was a new experience and they gained a lot out of it.

“During the three-day swim meet the confidence and the independence was rising and with the help of the oldest swimmers from the club, they all had a lot of fun and felt a part of the team.”

The final day of the event was a strong one for the club, Bukszowana said, led by 14-year-old Alex Petriw who qualified for a final in both his swims and swam a personal-best time in both.

“Swimmers were tired but none of them showed it and everybody kept fighting breaking even more best times,” Bukszowana said.

Petriw qualified to the 50-metre freestyle final with the fastest overall time and took the silver in the final setting a new club record of 25.84.

He also made the B final in the 100-metre backstroke and had a faster time than some of those competing in the A final finishing with the 6th fastest time overall.

Petriw set four new club records in the boy’s 13-14 division in three freestyle races and the 200-metre backstroke.

Aidan Harvey and Kingscote also set new club records in the 200-metre backstroke in their respective divisions.

Harvey also set a new record in the 100-metre backstroke, which he finished in 12th place in the final.

Thomas Bakica set the remaining club record in the boy’s 13-14 category in the 400-metre individual medley in a time of 5:22.00.

All of the racers had the opportunity to compete in a relay with every athlete participating in the 4x50-metre medley relays, which Bukszowana noted was a great experience for the swimmers and resulted in a majority of record times.

Bukszowana said she was very pleased with the way the athletes swam and the results were a deserved outcome after a lot of hard work since the season started in September.

“It was amazing, the results were very good,” she said. “But it did not come free, they paid a lot for it. Hard workouts since September, lots of muscle pain, tiredness.”

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