Four Yorkton Storm Swim Club athletes recently returned from the biggest swim meet of their young swimming careers. The swimmers who qualified for the meet by swimming an AA Time in competition this past season swam at the Man-Sask Championships in Winnipeg.
According to Head Coach Ashley Benko the meet is misnamed. “It’s an interesting meet in that it is supposed to attract the top swimmers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, hence its name, ‘Man-Sask’. Most recently, however, the meet has also attracted top swimmers from Alberta and Northern Ontario as well. There were even some swimmers from British Columbia at this last competition,” offered Benko, continuing, “The swimmers are there for a variety of reasons, in the older categories the swimmers are looking to swim a National Standard time, so it is great for our Yorkton athletes to see these high-end athletes in action.”
Benko was very impressed with the performances turned in by her swimmers at the meet and they each had their own take the meet as well. Thirteen-year-old swimmer Jacob Baker said, “It was great because it was my first time at Man-Sask. It was a great opportunity to swim against competition of that calibre.”
It was also Cassidy Flasch’s first trip to the Man-Sask meet. The 12-year-old summed up her trip by saying, “It was absolutely awesome to be at Man-Sask. I got to race against some strong swimmers which will make me a better swimmer. After competing here, my personal goals in the pool have gotten a little higher.”
Kelsey Haczkewicz made her second trip to Man-Sask and said, “Although I am concentrating on track and field more and more, I was very pleased that I can still swim fast enough to qualify and compete at this level. Swimming has become an excellent form of cross-training for me, it helps me build endurance while putting little to no stress on my joints.”
For 14-year -ld Jennifer Haczkewicz, the trip to Man-Sask was about reaching some personal goals that she had set for herself at the beginning of the season. “I came into this meet with two goals, the first was to break 30seconds in the 50m Freestyle and the second was to make a final. I was able to accomplish both of those things so I am very pleased with the meet.”
Coach Benko pointed out that in attaining her goals she broke a club record in the 50m Freestyle and tied the record in the 100m Freestyle. The previous record in the 50m Free was 29.91sec and was held by Danielle Ozirny who set the record in March of 1996. Haczkewicz swam the race in 29.76sec to set the new mark. The 100m Free record that Haczkewicz tied is now co-shared with Ozirny as well, the time of 1:06.16 was swam in January of 1996 by Ozirny.
“I am always pleased when club records start to fall, to me it shows that what we are doing as coaches and swimmers is paying off!” Benko added, “These are the first two records to be broken or tied in nine years and with the crop of quality young swimmers many more records will be falling in the near future.”
As a side note it should be noted that Head Coach Ashley Benko, then Ashley Giroux, currently holds an incredible 17 records with the swim club from back in her swimming heydays in the late 90’s. Benko’s sister, Bret McDowell, also still holds 18 records with the club. Bret also still holds two provincial records in the 50m Backstroke where as a 10 year old she set the mark of 35.98sec. in 1997 during the short course season. That very same year she set the record in the 50m Backstroke, swimming it in a time of 37.76 during the long course season.