The Estevan Mermaids turned in arguably their best showing ever at the Sadie Caulder Knight provincial stream synchronized swimming provincials on the weekend in Saskatoon.
The local synchro club sent a record 42 swimmers to the meet and earned a total of 20 medals, including eight in the provincial stream and 12 in the recreation events.
Of those medals, nine were coloured gold.
Leading the way were Mackenzie Dahl and Chanel Thieven, who won the age 16-18 duet event in the provincial stream with a score of 54.654, as well as Eden Palmer and Alyssa Wieting, who won the age 13-15 duet category in the provincial stream with a score of 51.809.
It is the third straight year that Palmer and Wieting have won gold in the duet event.
Two other Estevan entries finished high in the 13-15 duets: Taylor Kuntz and Shelby Tytlandsvik were third at 51.267, and Kailey Barnstable and Tamira Krall were fourth at 50.458.
“Shelby and Taylor were close on (Palmer and Wieting’s) heels. It was very, very close,” said Mermaids head coach Brenda Lyons. It’s nice to see some really friendly competition on our team and that they’re really pushing themselves to strive for excellence.”
Lyons added that the solo and duet swimmers don’t get a lot of training time in Estevan because of limited pool time.
“It’s really nice to see our kids doing well in solos and duets because those are the kids that are really passionate about it.”
Other medal winners in the provincial stream were Hannah Whitman, who was second in the solo novice division with a score of 46.564, and third in the figure novice division with a score of 52.362; Dahl, who was second in the figures 16-18 category at 57.674; and Thieven, who was right behind Dahl in third at 54.806.
The Mermaids earned bronze in the under-12 team event with a score of 45.718, finishing behind only Saskatoon and Regina.
Another Mermaids team finished sixth in that event.
In the team 13-15 category, the Mermaids were fourth.
“I was 100 per cent pleased with how they swam, but sometimes in a judged sport you don’t always get the results you’re expecting. We did a routine that was a little different,” Lyons said of the 13-15 group.
There were three Mermaids in the under-10 figures provincial stream: Nyla Dyck (fourth), Gemma Bittman (13th) and Caitlin Graham (18th).
Six Mermaids competed in the figures under-12 division: Brooke Kruger (11th), Marlie Weinrauch (15th), Danika Poirier (17th), Bailey Wock (22nd), Madison Yunick (25th) and Brenna Lawrence (26th).
Competing in the 13-15 category were Palmer (11th), Wieting (12th), Barnstable (13th), Tracy Irwin (14th), Kuntz (15th), Tytlandsvik (19th), Krall (20th) and Kelsey Potoma (21st).
In solo, Kruger was fourth in the under-12 category, Irwin was fifth in the 13-15 group and Potoma was just behind Irwin in sixth.
The Mermaids’ large contingent of recreational athletes also did very well at the provincials.
“We had a lot of recreational athletes, so that’s why we’re able to take such a big group, although our competitive group is quite big now too,” said Lyons.
“Not a lot of other clubs take their recreational kids to provincials. For us, I think it’s a great way to introduce them to what the sport can be. They get ribbons and it’s a lot of fun.”
The Mermaids finished first in seven recreation events.
In the figures category, Trinity Rooks posted the top score of 27.988 in the under-10 division, Kenadee Williams was first in under-12 (29.416) and Peyton Holt won the age 13-15 (26.569).
Anna Rose Lawrence was first in the age 16-18 figures (31.552) as well as solo (39.951).
Two Mermaids teams also won gold, those coming in the under-10 (33.422) and 13-15 (36.291).
A third Mermaid team finished second in the under-10 division.
The Mermaids dominated the recreation under-10 figures event, taking up the top seven spots. Other finishers were Mackenzie Flaman (second), Shaylynn Hanson (third), Kendra Cossette (fourth), Madison Flaman (fifth), Markie Daoust (sixth), Taylor Terness (seventh), Shayna Fichter (ninth), Gemma Sylvestre (11th), Emily Thompson (12th), Bridget Stovin (13th) and Sierra White (14th).
Maya Daoust was second in the under-12 figures and Maisy Daoust was second in the 13-15 figures.
“There’s not one kid on our team who didn’t give a gold medal effort this weekend,” said Lyons.
She added that although the Mermaids get less training time than most of their competition, the swimmers met expectations and then some this year.
“We always go into the season wanting our kids to swim their personal best. We know we’re not always going to be competitive because we swim against Regina and Saskatoon, who have 10 times the coaching expertise that we have. We focus on teamwork and personal growth because we only train two hours a week. We know what we’re going to get out of two hours as opposed to 12.
“It’s amazing to see the progression from the beginning of the season to the end. We progressed way more in a season than we ever had before. Our coaches are getting more comfortable with the sport and we’re learning more all the time.”