In a 2019 summer swim season that has already had a bevy of highlights and personal bests, the Hinton Water Devils still managed to save a little something special to close it out.
Hinton swimmers set two records – one individual mark and one in relay – at the provincial championships Aug. 17 – 18 at the Kinsmen Pool in Edmonton.
Seven of 11 Hinton Water Devils that competed at provincials also found the podium.
“I’m extremely proud of them. They have all improved immensely this season and it showed,” said head coach Haeley Lowe.
“Incredible races all around.”
Rachel Blais was part of both record setting performances at provincials, setting a new mark in the girls 11 & 12 category for the 100m individual medley with a time of one minute, 12.68 seconds (1:12.68).
Blais and her twin sister, Ashley, between them now hold the provincial records for individual medley in all three age categories they’ve entered and hold 11 individual provincial records combined.
The Blais sisters – age 11 – also teamed up with Alan Vergara and Logan Laflamme – both aged 13 – to set a new record in the mixed 14 & under category for the 200m freestyle relay with a time of 1:53.47.
“They will be able to compete again in the same category again next year!” said Lowe.
Around a dozen records were set at this year’s provincials, though all records from the weekend are not official until a review process is complete.
Besides setting the record and earning gold in the 100m IM, Rachel also earned three second place finishes in the 400m free, 50m fly and 100m fly. Ashley earned gold in both the 200m IM and the 100m free, as well as second in both the 50m free and 100m back.
The sisters also combined with Lauren Coté and Ashley King to earn bronze in the girls 14 and under 200m medley relay.
There were two other individual podium finishes for the Water Devils with Laflamme earning a bronze in the boys 13 & 14 category 100m fly and Emery Sigsworth earning bronze in the girls 9 & 10 category for the 25m back.
Laflamme flirted with the podium in two other races, earning fourth in both the 50m free and the 50m fly.
Coté had a pair of sixth place finishes in the girls 13 & 14 category for the 50m breast and the 100m breast. Gavin Norman finished 11th in his lone race of provincials, the 50m back in the boys 15 – 17 category. Vergara had a best finish of seventh place in his four individual races in the boys 13 & 14 category, finishing the 100m back in a time of 1:16.54.
There were two other Hinton relay squads at provincials and Maya Maurik and Mya Robinson teamed up with Laflamme and Vergara to come close to another medal with a fourth place finish in the mixed 17 and under medley relay.
The foursome of Coté, King, Robinson and Annelise Litke finished seventh in the girls 17 and under 200m free relay.
“I should also mention that nine of our 11 provincials swimmers were in their down year this year, so they will be able to compete in the same category again next year. That said, the swimmers and I are all very excited to see what next season has in store,” said Lowe, who was at her third provincial championships as a coach, though her first one with the Water Devils.