Rupert athletes gear up for Summer Games

The list of Rupertites heading to the BC Summer Games in Abbotsford this season and it features a wide array of sports.

Coach Sarah McChesney and the Zone 7 swim squad train six times per week for the games.

Coach Sarah McChesney and the Zone 7 swim squad train six times per week for the games.

The list is extensive for the Prince Rupert delegation heading to the BC Summer Games in Abbotsford this season and it features a wide array of sports.

Representing Prince Rupert in the North West Zone (or Zone 7) in Athletics are Kohen Chan, Eric Lees and Andrew Lother. Lees is participating in the 100 m race and long and high jump. Kohen Chan is racing in the 100 m and 200 m races, and Andrew Lowther is taking part in the 100 m and 200 m hurdles.

“Eric has a chance to medal in high and long jump and both Eric and Kohen will be hard pushed to make the final (top eight) in 100 m and 200 m. Andrew would be seeded about 12th in hurdles,” said Rupert track head coach Dighton Haynes.

“The boys hope to run the relay as well. The relay team is the coach’s decision at the games.”

Girls’ rugby features a large contingent of athletes heading over to Abbotsford for the July 21-24 games, as Robyn Grant, Hannah Scherr and Kennedy Weir will all be making the trip as is their head coach with the Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) Rainmakers, Amanda Barney. Barney has been named an assistant coach with the Zone 7 squad.

In soccer, Lyndon Drummond, Brendan Eshom, Aman Gill and Sherangad Sahai will all be hitting the pitch to try and medal with the boys’ soccer squad. On the girls’ team, Delanie Hebert and Kaiya Storey made the cut to be on the squad.

On the softball diamond, Michael Kitchener and Hunter Wiley will join ranks with those from around the northwest on the Zone 7 softball team, and Zach Dolan and Kobi Franes have made the gruelling triathlon team and will head to Abbotsford to put their skills to the test.

Hitting the sand on the beach volleyball team are Prince Rupert’s Suttira Johansen and Brittany Waite, while CHSS graduate and current Victoria Island University (VIU) Mariners’ player Celina Guadagni will don the head coach’s cap for the Zone 7 beach volleyball squad.

Rounding out the athletes and coaches from Rupert are swimmers Warren Barton, Isaac Mastroianni, Jarred McMeekin and Hannah Toye, all from the Prince Rupert Amateur Swim Club (PRASC).

PRASC member and CHSS grad Sarah McChesney will be running things on the pool’s sidelines as a Zone 7 assistant coach.

“[PRASC head coach] Chris Street and I have been working a lot on technical things with the swimmers and the little things that make a huge difference, such as four dolphin kicks off the wall, super tight streamline and taking a stroke before they breathe off the wall,” said McChesney last week, adding that the swimmers have been training at the Earl Mah Aquatic Centre six times per week for an hour and a half each session.

“For Warren, we’ve been working on staying tight after pushing off the wall. For Isaac, it’s keeping his head still in freestyle and holding lots of water. Jarred has been working on keeping strong anchor with his pull during breaststroke and for Hannah, it’s getting closer to the wall when flipping and rolling her shoulders more on backstroke,” she said.

McChesney has learned the art of swimming under Street and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) head coach Brad Dalke. She explained that having different perspectives from different mentors have given her a broader sense of her style as an athlete.

“Going away to TRU and having a different coach who thought differently than Chris changed my perspective a lot. Chris isn’t the only person who knows what they are doing … No one is wrong when they are coaching, they just see something different. Because I had to step away from the swimming part of the sport [due to injury], it’s been a real change. But I wouldn’t get a chance to suck all Chris’ knowledge in,” she said.

“Having Chris and Brad as my coaches has been nothing but a blessing. I couldn’t imagine going through the journey with anyone else.”

The swimmers will be aiming to set personal bests at the Games, said the assistant coach. Medalling would be a bonus.