Swimmers with the White Rock Wave have had a busy last few weeks, collecting medals at meets from Richmond to Nanaimo.
Most recently, 20 members of the team were in the Harbour City for a masters swim meet, helping the South Surrey/White Rock-based club to victories in seven of eight relays, as well as individual podium finishes.
The first relay gold medal came in the 400-m freestyle, which was the first event of the day and required an early wake-up for swimmers – the starting gun went off at 6 a.m.
Despite the early call time, the team landed atop the podium, and one swimmer, Gareth Cumming – “one gutsy guy” according to team’s head coach Carole Gair – tackled the second event of the day, the men’s 400-m individual medley.
In addition to winning a pair of gold medals, one of White Rock’s victorious relay teams, the men’s 160-years-plus group – Michael Collins, 44; Carlos Sanchez, 44; Steve Cropo, 47; and Jack Cavanagh, 25 – narrowly missed setting a pair of provincials records.
In the 200-m freestyle relay, they finished just 0.4 seconds shy of the B.C. mark, and they were 0.66 seconds off the record-breaking pace in the 200-m medley.
Individually, gold medals were won by Alida Brichon, Skip Ray, Linda Stanley-Wilson, Craig Slater and Danica Stockstad, while Gair pointed out that the most improved swimmer at the meet was Katharine Rejminiak, 31, who swam to personal-best time in all four of her events.
Earlier this month, Wave members were at a long-course meet at Richmond’s Watermania pool, where the team won 10 of 11 relay events, setting records in the process.
In the mixed 4×100 medley (combined age 240-279), the foursome of Brichon, Cumming, Dale Freeman and Paul Scanlon set a B.C. record en route to gold, while a second team – Stanley-Wilson, Tony Pease, Theo Manley and Ray – also set a new provincial mark, in the 4×100 medley (combined age 280-319).
Individually, Cropo won gold and set a new B.C. record in the 50-m butterfly and Pease, 80, did the same in the 400-m freestyle.
At his first-ever masters meet, Russ Wilson, 50, won the 50-m fly and posted great times in the 50-m freestyle and 50-m breaststroke – prompting, Gair said, plenty of ‘Who is that guy?” comments around the pool deck.
Cavanagh, also swimming in this first masters meet, won three of his four events, as well.
Five swimmers finished first in all five of their events – Ross Nicholson, Ray, Brichon, Manley and Stockstad.
Gair was also quick to point out the performance of three swimmers – Wanda Morris, Manley and Scanlon – for gutting out the grueling 800-m freestyle race at the very end of what was a five-hour day in the water.
As was the game in Nanaimo, where they also were tops in the team standings, the Wave captured the overall points championship in Richmond, besting 23 other teams.
The club’s final meet of the season is Sunday (Nov. 24) in Federal Way, Wash. After that, the club will not return to a competition schedule until February, though Gair and other members of the club will be busy preparing to host the BC Masters Provincial Championships, which are scheduled for the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre in April.