Like every other sport in the NWT, there hasn’t been much to talk about when it comes to swimming, especially at the territorial level.
But the NWT Swimming Championships are back and it looks like things will return to normal in the pool. Somewhat.
The territorial meet returned for the first time since 2019 at the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool but it wasn’t a truly territorial meet. Just the Polar Bear Swim Club was in the water and that’s because no other club in the NWT entered a team.
Carol Lockhart, head coach of the Polar Bears, said it was a bit sad to not have other swimmers come in to compete.
“It’s discouraging for the sport to have no communities take part but they’ve been dealing with the difficulties of Covid-19,” she said. “We’re lucky that we have lots of depth at our club and we’ve recycled some of our older swimmers who have left the club into coaches. A lot of our parents are also volunteers so our future looks bright.”
Results-wise, several swimmers put in fine performances on the day, such as Victor Lumacad, who swept the board in the boys 13-14 age group. He won all of his races — seven in total — while Luke Bui was runner-up to Lumacad in all but one race, that being the 50-metre breaststroke, where he finished third.
The boys 16 and over age category saw Alex Ketchum and Jacob Mitchener win four events each. Ketchum won the 50-metre freestyle, 100-metre freestyle, 400-metre freestyle and 50-metre breaststroke while Mitchener won the 800-metre freestyle, 100-metre backstroke, 50-metre butterfly and 100-metre butterfly.
Ignat Tarskii was also a big winner in the boys 10-11 age category and Lockhart said those are impressive results when you consider he hasn’t been swimming competitively for long.
“He’s only been with us for a short amount of time,” she said. “He came out last March for a six-week program and he’s been with our Sharks group and really come into his own.”
On the girls side, Julianna Leclerc was top of the class in the 14-15 age group as she won five races, as did Aurora Lockhart in the 10-11 age category. Eleoneore MacPherson won all four of her races in the 8 and under class while Morgan Nelson was a six-race winner in the 13-14 girls section.
“Morgan and Kara, her sister, did really well on the weekend,” said coach Lockhart. “The last two years away from the sport has been the toughest on the 10 to 14-year-olds because you don’t have that coach telling you what you have to do for competition but I think the chance to be on the Canada Summer Games team has motivated them.”
The sisters will get their chance to make Team NT for the big show this coming August in Ontario when they, along with nearly two dozen of their teammates, will be making the trip to Edmonton early next month for the Silver Rays Invitational.
“I have high expectations for the group heading down,” said Lockhart. “It’s a group of 11-and-under boys and 10-and-under girls, along with the Nelson girls, and I fully expect those two to get their Canada Games times down there. I’m hoping we can put together some good results.”
Aside from that, the Polar Bears’ season will come to an end this Friday and Lockhart said it was up and down but successful.
“The big positive is we have a lot of depth going forward and we’re looking forward to next season,” she said.