Whalers win home meet

Heading into his club's annual meet, Abbotsford Whalers head swimming coach Mark Townsend wasn't expecting his athletes to be in peak form.

Ezra Garcia Landa of the Abbotsford Whalers surges to the finish during the Whalers Invitational at Centennial Pool.

Ezra Garcia Landa of the Abbotsford Whalers surges to the finish during the Whalers Invitational at Centennial Pool.



Heading into his club’s annual meet at Centennial Pool, Abbotsford Whalers head swimming coach Mark Townsend wasn’t expecting his athletes to be in optimum form.

The Whalers, after all, had competed at UBC the previous weekend, and Townsend had pushed them hard in practice during the week with the goal of having them peak at the regional championships in early August.

The Whalers ended up surprising their coach, though, as most swimmers posted times right around their personal bests. The host club also won the overall points title at the weekend event.

“I was really happy,” Townsend said afterward. “We were coming off a really hard week of training, so I wasn’t expecting, especially with our older swimmers, a lot of best times. But they performed really well.”

The meet drew over 400 swimmers, including 150 from the local club.

Among the Whalers’ top medal magnets were Brittany Paget (Div. 1 girls, gold in 100 IM, 50 free and 50 back, silver in 100 free), Fallon Quast (Div. 3 girls, gold in 100 IM, 50 fly and 100 free, silver in the 50 back), Laura Berard (Div. 4 girls, gold in 200 IM, 50 fly and 100 back, silver in 100 free), Brenden Saether (Div. 4 boys, gold in 50 free, 100 back and 100 free, silver in 50 fly), and Nadia Berard (Div. 7 girls, gold in 200 IM, 50 free, 100 breast, 100 free).

Townsend was also impressed with Emily Aikema, who battled illness all week but came through with a series of strong performances in the Div. 5 girls category.

“She was able to step up and have some really nice swims,” he said. “For me, that was one of the highlights.”

The next big event at Centennial Pool is the regional championships, Aug. 3-5.