For the first time in the Kootenay Swim Club’s history, they have two swimmers qualified for age group nationals—14-year-old Kelsey Andrusak and 15-year-old Samuel Matthew.
Now the club is fundraising with a bottle drive and seeking donations to send the pair to the Quebec City competition at the end of July.
“I can’t wait. I’ve never been to Quebec City before,” said Andrusak, who qualified in the 50 breast, 100 breast and 50 free.
She plans to qualify in the 100 free at upcoming provincials.
Andrusak, whose older sister Jordan trains elsewhere and made the national team, said she looks up to her sister’s athleticism and aims to follow in her footsteps.
Soon she’ll be traveling to Victoria to train alongside her at the Commonwealth Games Pool in Victoria.
Meanwhile, Matthew qualified in the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke.
“It’s a big honour to have this support. I’ve been working hard for lots of years and last year I was so close to qualifying—I only missed by a couple tenths of a second,” said Matthew.
He moved from the Trail team to Nelson last year.
“We felt we needed a change of team and I’d been coached under Chris (Wright) before and he’s an amazing coach. He’s big on technique.”
“Some coaches are more hardcore and will swim you to death, but he works really hard on technique and that’s helped me a lot.”
Recently, Wright made an anonymous donation of $600 to send the pair to provincials—but they figured out he was responsible anyway.
Wright told the Star he’s thrilled that the team has produced two highly competitive swimmers despite the instability caused by the pool’s renovation woes.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” he said.
Residents who would like to donate their bottles to Andrusak and Matthew’s travels can tell the bottle depot they want their funds to go towards the Kootenay Swim Club.
For more information visit thekootenayswimclub.com.