Swimmers get ready to race at the Prince Rupert Regional Swim Meet, on Jan. 29. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Swimmers get ready to race at the Prince Rupert Regional Swim Meet, on Jan. 29. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Rapids swim team make a splash at regional meet in Prince Rupert

First competition of 2022 saw Terrace, Kitimat and Rupert compete

Three Rupert Rapids swimmers made a splash by winning gold at the regional swim meet held at the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre on Jan. 29 and 30.

The Rapids team won the swim meet with an overall score of 857 followed by Terrace with 566 and Kitimat scoring 64.

Hometown swimmers Heidi Bellis, Kelly Choi and Josh Joubert each swam to the top spot in multiple events.

Choi won the gold medal in the girls 11 to 12 age group and achieved a new B.C. provincial time of 4:54.70 in the 400-metre freestyle. She also won the 100 and 200-metre butterfly as well as the 100 and 200-metre freestyle.

Bellis won the gold aggregate in the girls 13 to 14 age group as well the 50 and 100-metre butterfly. Her swimming also brought her the 100-metre breaststroke plus the 50 and 100-metre freestyle top spots.

Joubert collected gold in the boys 15 and over age group winning the 100, 200 and 50-metre butterfly, the 50-metre breaststroke as well as the 100-metre backstroke.

The top performers of Terrace Bluebacks were Gabriel Ungehojer who won the aggregate gold in the boys 11 to 12 age group as well as Xavier Grielens and Reed Downs who tied for gold in the boys aggregate under 10 group. Camryn Costain won the silver aggregate in the girls 15 and over age group while Matthew Block won the aggregate silver in the boys over 15 group, Terrace coach Nicolas Sunderland-Baker said.

Representing the Kitimat Marlin Swim Club, Jacob Van Horne placed first in the 50-metre backstroke, 50-metre butterfly, 100-metre breast stroke as well as the 100 and 400-metre freestyle in the boys 13 to 14 age group. Wynn Runka placed first in the 100-metre backstroke and the 200-metre individual melody events in the girls 13 and 14 group, Marlin coach, CJ Brant, said.

The three Rupert gold-medalist have also already qualified for Swim BC provincials. Other swimmers at the meet were participating to qualify for the divisional and provincial championships after Swim BC gave the green light on Jan. 26 for the competitions to go ahead.

“They’ve been training really hard for the past two years and they deserve to be back in the water and win some ribbons and some medals and do their best,” Joanna Larson, swim meet manager for the Prince Rupert Rapids, said.

“The Rupert team is very strong. We’ve got lots of really good swimmers, lots of up-and-coming swimmers,” she said.

The tournament was originally slated to be hosted in Kitimat, but was transferred to Prince Rupert due to the pandemic conditions, Larson said.

Norman Galimski | Journalist
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