Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Morris Prokop

DIVIN' IN – Swimmers in the finals of the 50 SC Metre Freestyle start their swim at the Yukon Invitational Championship Swim Meet at the Canada Games Centre. The meet took place May 3-5.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

BACKSTROKIN' – Luke Breckinridge competes in the Boys 9-10 Finals of the Mixed 100 SC Metre Backstroke.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

RIPPLE EFFECT – Hugh Stoops competes in the Boys 13-14 Final of the 100 SC Metre Backstroke.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

ROLE MODELS – Alex Petriw, left, and Thomas Bakica after their swims at the Yukon Invitational Championship Swim Meet at the Canada Games Centre on May 4.

Whitehorse Glacier Bears host 'fantastic' Yukon Championships

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears hosted a highly-successful Yukon Invitational Championship Swim Meet recently.

By Morris Prokop on May 14, 2024

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears hosted a highly-successful Yukon Invitational Championship Swim Meet recently.

The championships took place May 3-5 at the Canada Games Centre pool.

The meet was sanctioned by Swim B.C.

The Star stopped in May 4 and spoke with returning Glacier Bear varsity swimmers Alex Petriw and Thomas Bakica after their swims were finished.

"Swims were not as good as I wanted, but this is a fun meet for everyone," said Bakica. "It's good to get out here, swim with the younger kids. They get to watch us swim, so for us it's not really about the speed right now at this stage of the season, just cause we're coming off really hard training. It's more just about being here, having a good time, meeting people, meeting parents of kids, meeting the kids and having good swims."

Petriw and Bakica both swim at the varsity level at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, B.C. Petriw said it's the end of the college season for them.

"We're ramping up now for the summer season."

Of swimming for SFU, Bakica said, "It's a really good opportunity for us, because they're the only NCAA school in Canada, so that means we get to compete with American schools, and we get to compete in Division 2 NCAA championships."

Petriw added, "It's great to be able to represent the Yukon on that stage. We get to represent our school and our home territory."

Petriw said they have a couple of long pool (50 metre) competitions coming up.

He said there's a couple of competitions in Vancouver and one in Kamloops.

"The big end-of-the-season meet, Canadian Nationals, is in Toronto."

Bakica has booked his ticket to the nationals. He'll be competing in the 50, 100 and 200 metre breaststroke.

Petriw hopes to be competing in the 50 and 100 metre freestyle. He has yet to qualify for the 100.

"I'm confident I'll get that by the end of the season, so I'm looking forward to it."

When asked if they feel like role models for the young kids, both young swimmers replied, "Absolutely."

Bakica said, "We're just watching the 50 breaststroke and I remember being like that kid, swimming like that and being here to get some pb's (personal bests), taking off huge chunks of time – now it's very hard to do that – but it was nice as a kid, coming here. You compete with your friends. It's not about first or last when you're this age. It's about having a good time and a positive experience."

Bakica said, "It's good to be here."

Petriw added, "It's great to be back. It's always nice to be home and swimming at a home meet."

Bakica said he's planning on staying at home all summer.

"But a lot of times university students will stay with the university and train over the summer."

Petriw said he's staying at SFU for the summer.

Whitehorse Glacier Bears Head Coach Bronwyn Pasloski said the day was "fantastic.

"It was full of energy. It was really good to see the whole club come together, and the (Inuvik) McKenzie Muskrats as well and the Haines (Alaska) Dolphins. I think this is one of the biggest Yukon Championships we've had in quite a few years, so it was incredible to see it."

This was the first time the Inuvik team competed in the Yukon Champs.

Pasloski figured there were about 120 swimmers at the meet.

"Across the board, it's just been spectacular to see the younger kids really perform and improve. That's really where we get to highlight them, at this meet.

"Lots of really good times from our older age group as well. They're getting prepared for the summer season, so they're a little bit tired and training through that. So I've been really impressed with the times they're putting in, knowing that they haven't had any rest."

Pasloski said there were a "substantial" amount of personal bests set at the meet.

Regarding having the older swimmers like Bakica, Petriw and Thomas Gishler at the meet, Pasloski said the kids, "love it.

"I love standing behind them when they're watching, and them being in such awe and curious about how they get that fast.

"And they get to talk about the effort they put into their training and things they can look forward to.

"I think it's really special and it means a lot. What's really great is having coached the varsity boys when they were younger and watching them go; it's really special for me as a coach watching them come back., because they still take a lot of pride in the team."

Pasloski extended a thank you to the sponsors.

"The sponsorship this year has been phenomenal.

Pasloski added, "I'm excited to watch our club grow. I think that this next year we're going to have more capacity in terms of having athletes come in, so it's only gonna get better and better."

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