Spartan swimmers overcome challenges at provincials
WOLFVILLE - After facing the challenge of having their pool closed in mid-March, the Amherst Spartans Swim Club finished the season in style by collecting an impressive array of awards at the junior provincial championships held recently in Wolfeville.
Six Spartans swimmers competed in a total of 31 events, earning 25 top-10 finishes and recording 22 personal-best times.
Hannah Thompson earned gold in all six of her individual events, which included the 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-metre freestyle, and the 100 and 200 backstroke events.
She recorded personal best times and East Coast qualifying times in the 100 and 200 backstroke and was named as the top 15-and-older female swimmer of the meet.
Marcus Kindervater recorded five personal bests as he collected gold medals in the 50 and 200 backstroke and the 200 IM events. He swam to fifth-place finishes in the 50 freestyle, 50 breaststroke and 50 butterfly, and was named the top 11-12-year-old male swimmer at the championships.
His best time swim in the 200 individual medley also earned him an East Coast qualifying time.
The large medal count at the provincials comes after many Spartans quit the team after the pool closure.
"It's been a challenging end of the season," said Spartan coach Jan Matthews. "The loss of the pool obviously had a huge impact on the swim team. The Sackville Swim Club was incredibly supportive and provided every opportunity to keep us in the water, but our numbers were decimated by the pool closure."
The dedication of the remaining swimmers became obvious through the spring as individual arrangements were made to ensure that anyone who wanted to swim had that opportunity."
"They really became a team," added Matthews, "and it was a pleasure to take them to the championships. They showed leadership and team spirit, supporting each other in the water and on deck. This is a phenomenal group of young athletes."
Other Spartans who did well at the provincials were Marley Pugsley, who had all top-10 finishes, including fourth-place ribbons in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. She swam to seventh place in the 200 freestyle and 200 backstroke events, recording four new personal-best times.
Emily Rossong placed 10th in the 50 breaststroke and recorded best times for all her swims, including the 50 and 200 freestyle, the 50 and 200 breaststroke, and the 50 backstroke events.
Meagan Kindervater ranked seventh in the 50 backstroke and recorded personal bests for her 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke and 50 butterfly swims.
Erika Ferguson earned personal bests in three of her swims, including the 50 freestyle, 50 backstroke and 50 breaststroke events.
The swimmers also did well in the relays.
Kindervater and Ferguson, who swim in the highly competitive 11-12-year-old girls division, accepted the challenge of swimming "up" and teamed with Thompson and Pugsley to record a fourth-place finish in the 15-and-older girls medley relay event.
Rossong joined Thompson, Pugsley and Kindervater, narrowly missed the bronze medal in the 15-and -older 200 freestyle relay.