Members of the Squamish Pirates swim team, which includes Whistler swimmers, posted more than a few personal bests on their way to the provincial championships in Vancouver last weekend, and they managed to do even better when they got there.
All eight competitive regions in B.C., with clubs from as far north as Whitehorse and as far south as Colville in Washington, took part in the championship meet.
Whistlers Samantha Ellis, 10, competed in the division two age group 200 metre Medley Relay as part of the Squamish Pirates Treasure Gals relay team. The Treasure Gals had taken the gold at the regionals to qualify, but were up against strong competition from a number of the other teams at the provincials.
The girls beat their best time by 5 seconds in the morning heats to qualify for the championship final. Claire Ourom (backstroke), Theresa Erickson (breaststroke), Alison MacKellar (fly), and Ellis (freestyle) all swam personal best splits in the finals, dropping another 4 seconds from their morning time with a 2:52.73, finishing in eighth place only 0.5 seconds out of seventh. Samantha Ellis, swimming the anchor leg, cut a total of 4 seconds from her 50 metre freestyle time over the weekend, swimming a 38.17 second split in the final.
Other members of the Pirates team advanced to the afternoon rounds in 16 of the 25 events they swam, with nine swimmers in the championship finals and seven in the consolation finals. Kelly Kaye, swimming in the open age group, brought home the gold medal in the 100 metre breaststroke with a new provincial meet record time of 1:15.66, as well as a silver in the 50 metre freestyle and a bronze in the 50 metre fly.
Other notable results in the championship finals were achieved by Christy Cunneyworth, who took seventh place in the division four age group 50 metre freestyle, and Alison MacKellar who finished seventh in the division two age group 50 metre fly.
It was a great weekend of swimming, fun and festivities in a fast pool. During the meet, 32 new provincial championship records were set, with David Geary of the Coquitlam Sharks setting four records. Geary, competing in the division five age group, swam a 1:01.04 in the 100 metre fly, a 1:02.93 in the 100 metre backstroke, a 27.24 in the 50 metre fly, and 2:16.70 in the 200 metre IM.
After a great 2001 year the Pirates are looking to continue their success next year, with the regional championships slated to take place in Squamish and the BCSSA provincial championship scheduled for early August at the UBC pool in Vancouver.
Ellis and all the other Pirates team members were supported all season by their coaches, Brandi Higgins and Heather Thick in Whistler, and Kelly Kaye and Ashley Mercer who coach the Pirates team in Squamish. They were also supported by parent volunteers and organizers, without whom there would be no team.
Registration for the 2002 programs takes place at Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Sept. 8 at Whistler secondary.