Whitehorse Daily Star

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YOUNG TALENT – Whitehorse Glacier Bears Head Coach Bronwyn Pasloski with Aubree Henderson, left and Roy Oborne at the B.C. Provincials in Victoria. The Provincials took place March 7-10.

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TALENTED TRIO – Thomas Bakica, right, on the podium of the male 200 Breaststroke at the B.C. Provincials with his bronze medal.

Whitehorse Glacier Bears in middle of busy, successful season

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears are in the middle of a busy, successful season.

By Morris Prokop on March 20, 2024

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears are in the middle of a busy, successful season.

The Star caught up with Glacier Bears head coach Bronwyn Pasloski recently to find out what the club has been up to.

“They have been up to really improving,” said Pasloski. “I’m really impressed with my crew actually. They’ve had a few really strong meets in the past two months. I had a really small group go over to Edmonton Open. So a small group, but it was really great.”

Pasloski said the Edmonton Open (Feb. 2-4) is just a fun meet not meant for qualifying for provincials.

“It was more for experience and just to get some racing time, which was good.”

That led the club into divisionals in Penticton Feb. 23-25.

“That was a pretty outstanding performance.”

This is the first year that the Whitehorse Glacier Bears were in the North and Interior division. They had 13 athletes attend, seven girls and six boys.

“I think the most important thing to know for divisionals is to make a final, it’s top 10 (since there are 10 lanes in the pool),” explained Pasloski.

The club came home with 13 medals.

“It’s really exceptional, actually,” said Pasloski. “I was quite impressed.”

Roy Oborne, only 13, won eight medals (one gold, six silver, one bronze).

“He medaled in every event he swam,” related Pasloski.

Corbin Jackson won three medals (two silver, one bronze).

Aubree Henderson brought home a silver and Zoe Belz took home a bronze.

Their combined team score was good for seventh out of 14 teams.

The men’s team finished fifth out of 15 teams.

The women’s teams finished ninth out of 14 teams.

“We had some great standout performances,” expressed Pasloski. “We had a lot of top 10 finishes too. So that just demonstrates a lot of depth and progression in our club.”

The Bears had 41 Top-10 swims at the meet.

Jackson had nine. Obourne had eight. Belz had seven. Aubree Henderson had five. Hugh Stopps had four. Erin Delaurier and Elliot Gishler had three each. River Powell and Will Sugden achieved one Top-10 each.

“At the beginning of the year, I mentioned how excited I was,” recalled Pasloski. “I knew that there was going to be progress and this is the start of it. I’m not surprised on how they performed, but I am really impressed and it was really wonderful.”

Pasloski said other clubs were taking notice of the Glacier Bears.

“Our performance definitely stood out. It was noticeable how our group was doing. That was really, I think, a proud moment for me to hear some of that feedback.”

The club had two provincial qualifiers at divisionals, Jackson and Henderson.

Four athletes in total went to the B.C. Provincials, which took place March 7-10 in Victoria.

Oborne, Henderson, Thomas Bakica and Alex Petriw all participated in the meet.

Jackson was busy competing at the Arctic Winter Games in speed skating, so couldn’t attend the provincials.

Bakica won bronze in the 200 Breaststroke.

“Roy did really great,” said Pasloski. “This is one of his first times that he’s ever finaled at provincials, which is an outstanding performance from him. So he had quite a few top eight finishes.”

At provincials, the top eight swimmers go to the finals.

Pasloski said many athletes attended the provincials, a four-day event with a full agenda every day.

“It is quite competitive. So we’re really proud of Roy for making finals and second swims.”

(Second swims occur when a swimmer has a good enough time in their first heat to move on.)

Pasloski, of course, was pleased with Bakica’s bronze.

She said it was the first time Henderson achieved a provincial time.

“She did wonderful. She progressed a lot. She finished 11th in her age group.

“All four of them had a fantastic weekend.”

Thomas Gishler and Emily Vangel were other notable Yukon swimmers who also missed the provincials.

They were, however, at the Edmonton Open, along with Belz, Henderson, and Rylan Steele.

“Aubree, Zoe and Rylan are all 14 and it was one of their first times attending this,” related Pasloksi. “Aubree and Zoey did have an opportunity to make finals. That was very exciting for them. It’s not easy to do that.

“Thomas and Emily made second swims as well. It was just an exciting meet to go to.”

Of the clubs’s recent success, Pasloski said, “One of my big goals for our club for this year is to start seeing more qualifiers for the provincial-level meets and onwards and this is just really going to show how we are trending in the right direction.”

Up next for the club is the Dino Cup at the University of Calgary April 13-14. Up to 30 young Yukon athletes will be attending that meet, which is for ages 10, 11, and younger.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing how they do,” said Posloski. “That’s a super-exciting meet for them.”

The Yukon Champs take place in Whitehorse May 3-5.

“Yukon Champs is one of the funnest meets that we have,” said Pasloski. “This event is for my older athletes. We train through it so the expectation for me as their coach during this weekend is hard racing. And challenging them and putting them in some off races that they typically might not race on a regular basis and what might be out of their comfort zone just so we can ensure that they’re training and racing and becoming well-rounded athletes.

“So that’s our very technical focus but the big focus as well is the team connection. This meet is where we have all of our groups come together from our youngest to our oldest. So it’s such a special meet.

“We do anticipate some teams from Alaska to come.”

Athletes from Yellowknife may also attend.

Pasloski said, “It would be fantastic to see some athletes either reach more divisional qualifying times or strive to get closer or achieving provincial times. That is always something that I look for. My older athletes and my younger ones as well. Just kind of closing those gaps. And setting those goals. So that’s what we’re hoping for from Yukon Champs, aside from just having a lot of fun.”

After that, Pasloski and Gishler are heading to the Olympic Trials in Montreal, which take place May 12-19.

“I think it’s going to be very exciting and a really good experience,” said Pasloski.

Pasloski added, “I’m really proud of the team. We started this year on such an electric note and I can really feel it and just watching the team grow. They’re only getting started. Just seeing them now and just watching how they’re really starting to understand what training looks like, it’s going to be an incredible end of the season for us for sure. And I’m already looking forward to next season.”

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