Riley Andrusak competes in the breastroke during the Saturday at the Races event held at the Nelson and District Community Complex last weekend.

Provincial prep for Nelson swimmers

Eight Kootenay Swim Club members are heading to Kamloops for competition this weekend.

Kootenay Swim Club’s young athletes have begun preparations for the upcoming MJB Law Classic in Kamloops, with eight swimmers set to make the trip.

“For this upcoming meet we’re focusing on trying to own the race from the beginning, right off the start,” said coach Chris Wright. “Starts and turns have been a big focus. We’ve packed in the endurance and fitness, so they have that on their side. Now we need to couple that with reaction time, trying to get them out of workout mode and into racing mode.”

This previous weekend the club hosted Saturday at the Races, an event at NDCC where all members of the club could experience a fun race environment. Wright said his swimmer’s performances bode well for future competitions.

“The performances and times were pretty much on par with where they wanted to be for qualifying times, and they hadn’t even started their taper yet,” he said.

“They’re only going to get more and more relaxed as this week goes on.”

Wright currently has one swimmer on the cusp of an age group national qualifying time, 15-year-old Sam Matthew.

On the weekend Matthew was four seconds shy of the 400 I.M. time he needed.

“It’s quite a distinction to be able to make age group nationals. It basically indicates the level at which a swimmer has qualified relative to their age, so he’s on track to make nationals,” he said, noting that he believes Matthew will shave off the final seconds at the upcoming meet in Kamloops.

Wright has also assembled two relay teams for the 13 and 14-year-old girls, including Kelsey Andrusak, Ella Korth, Ohia Wintraub and Sydney Wetter.

They will participate in both the freestyle and I.M. relays.

The girls are also performing at a high level individually, he said.

“Ohia is on the cusp of AA time. She’s a summer swimmer, and I have a feeling she’s going to go right past AA towards AAA in her 100 and 200 fly,” he said.

“Kelsey, she’s basically going to get more AAA times. Right now she’s got one and she’s on the way to getting way more. She’ll be well-placed, and she’ll probably final,” he said.

“Ella is a backstroker, and she qualified for AAs last year. She’s decided she’s going to try to make AAAs, and she was about three seconds shy in her 100,” he said.

A lot of mental preparation will go into upcoming training, said Wright.

“This week it’s a very mental part of the preparation. They might think `we’re not training that hard’ so they won’t do well, but tapering is a time to repair, stretch, rehydrate. You have to be confident. Everything you did in work-out will show up in that race,” he said.

After this meet is over, Wright will begin a rigorous Christmas training schedule. There is one more meet in Kelowna at the end of January before provincials are held in Kamloops sometime near the end of February.

Though the location has not yet been announced, Wright thinks the meet may be held at the Kamloops pool. That means this weekend is a crucial time for his swimmers to get used to that environment.

“They have a lot of nerves about traveling to this pool. This way they can get used to the setting, and they’ll be fully prepared when they go back for provincials.”