A pair of local swim clubs made the most of the comforts of home at the 2012 edition of the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships.
The host Okanagan Masters Swim Club, represented by 35 members, placed a convincing second out of 86 clubs from across Canada and the U.S. last weekend at Kelowna’s H2O Fitness and Adventure Centre.
In addition, Kelowna’s five-member Wine Country Masters Swim Club won 18 medals and captured the division for small clubs.
A third local club, the Westside Thunder, also competed and was 43rd overall.
The OMSC, competing without several key members, was second only in team competition to the Edmonton Masters Swim Club.
“Second place was an excellent result for our club,” said Jeanette Hoft, a competitor and spokesman for OSMC. “(Canadian record holder) Carmelle Guidi-Swan wasn’t competing because of an injury, and two of our other athletes weren’t competing, so we did very well. With big clubs like Edmonton and Victoria here, we did well for a relatively small area.
“I have to credit our coaches, too,” Hoft added. “They did a wonderful job with all of us.”
The three-day national competition featured 510 swimmers—between the ages of 19 and 93—mostly from across Canada and the U.S., and from as far way as the United Kingdom and France.
In a very fast H2O pool, two new worlds record were set along with 26 new Canadian marks and 12 new B.C. standards.
The Victoria Masters team set a new world standard in the women’s (200-239) medley relay, while Deke Botsford of Campbell River Grey Whales established a new world time for the men’s 100m Fly (age group 45-49).
Seasoned swimmers, Fred Schulhof of North Shore Masters and Hugh McGregor of Victoria Crystal Silver Streaks, both 93, cut the ceremonial opening ribbon with Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray before diving back into the pool.
With the help of many tireless volunteers and the support of the community, Hoft said organizers couldn’t have asked for a much better weekend of competition and camaraderie.
“We have such a wonderful facility in H2O, that helped make it such a fantastic weekend,” said Hoft.
“It was very well organized, and we were able have that seriousness of competition and combine it with a really fun event.
“Hopefully, with the support from the City of Kelowna, we’ll be able to host more big swimming events in the future.”
For complete results from the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships, visit www.okmasters.com/liveresults.