The Nelson Neptunes’ girls OCat 2 Relay Team won bronze in both the 200-metre medley and 200 freestyle. L-R: Sasha Eaton, Kallie Badry, Megan Bonikowsky and Elle Chouinard. Photo: Submitted

The Nelson Neptunes’ girls OCat 2 Relay Team won bronze in both the 200-metre medley and 200 freestyle. L-R: Sasha Eaton, Kallie Badry, Megan Bonikowsky and Elle Chouinard. Photo: Submitted

Nelson Neptunes capture 17 medals at summer swim provincials

Twenty local swimmers stood on the podium at the event

The Nelson Neptune Swim Club wrapped up a stellar season at the British Columbia Summer Swimming Association Provincial Championship in Kamloops on Aug. 18 to 21 with 17 medals earned by 20 swimmers from the club. The return to competition for the first time since 2019 saw the club grow to 74 swimmers, the largest in the Kootenay Region.

The growth following hard times during the pandemic is nothing new for the swim team though.

“As much as this is a swim team in which we celebrate winning, individual perseverance of putting in effort and improving a little bit every time is really what summer swimming is all about,” said Chad Badry, the president of the Nelson Neptunes.

The Nelson and District Community Complex was instrumental in ensuring the Neptunes had the space to practice, but the team was spotted all over the area this season with kids doing team lake swims, hiking Pulpit Rock, dryland training at Lakeside Park, and travelling the region attending swim meets.

All of the swimmers managed to get best times at the provincial championship.

Gold medal recipients included Makai Eaton and Lachlan Bibby-Fox (breaststroke), Matt MacDonald (backstroke), and Kallie Badry (individual medley).

Silver medal recipients were Bibby- Fox (individual medley), Eaton (individual medley), Megan Bonikowsky (50-metre freestyle and breaststroke), and Elise Crowe (100 freestyle). Bronze medal recipients were Crowe (individual medley and butterfly), MacDonald (50 freestyle), Bibby-Fox (back stroke), and Badry (breaststroke).

The Neptunes relay team of Elle Chouinard, Sasha Eaton, Bonikowsky, and Badry pulled out bronze medals in both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay events.

Top-10 finishes included a few narrow fourth-place finishes by Naiya Gaynor (50 and 100 free), Eaton (free), MacDonald (fly), Bonikowsky (IM), Navah De Chezet (free), and the girls Div 3 medley relay team of Brynn Merritt, Calleigh Cowan, Crowe, and De Chezet along with the boys Div 8 relay team of Bibby-Fox, Evan Chouinard, Kaden Johnson, and MacDonald.

The remainder of the team that almost all had top 20 finishes in individual events included Keira Badry, Eaton, Elle Chouinard, Evan Chouinard, Marshal Scanlon, Lita Cowan, Johnson, Brynn Merritt, Charlotte Anderson and Josie Cowan.

“This is an amazing accomplishment for the Neptunes and I am extremely proud of the whole team,” said Matt MacDonald, now in his third season as Neptunes head coach.

Coaches MacDonald and Madeline Holitzki have set the club up for continued success by not only working on swim technique and endurance, but working diligently to develop our older swimmers in to new coaches to take the reins in the future.

Swimmers will get a six-week break from practices before hitting the water again Oct. 3 for the fall session. Next summer, the provincial championship will be held in Nanaimo. Anyone interested in joining the Nelson Neptunes can find more information at www.nelsonneptunes.teampages.com.