Batch two of athletes from the NWT is off and running at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.
And it’s a much bigger batch than the first offering.
Team NWT’s size literally doubled as squads for girls’ and boys’ indoor volleyball, swimming, golf and boys’ soccer arrived in Saturday. There’s also a tennis player as well, with Tamara Jovic flying the flag on the court.
Bill Othmer, Team NWT’s chef de mission, said it was busy in Winnipeg on Saturday with so many people coming and going.
“It was a long Saturday,” he said. “I estimate it was a 19-hour day at least.”
Once everyone was where they needed to be, the team hosted a parents’ breakfast, the second one they’ve had during their time in Winnipeg.
This time it was a full house with Othmer saying around 60 people enjoyed the spread.
Even more impressive was the swimmers attendance – every single parent of every single swimmer made it to Winnipeg.
“That was one of the more impressive things I’ve seen,” said Othmer. “Thirty-two parents in total that made the trip – that’s incredible.”
When it comes to swimming, Gabriel Leclerc was first up on Monday. He swam in the boys’ 800-metre freestyle, where he ended up 16th overall.
Aisling Dunn and Elle Mitchener were up next in the girls’ 1,500-metre freestyle and both ended up 21st and 22nd respectively. Later, both the boys’ and girls’ teams finished 11th in their 4 x 200-metre freestyle relay races.
Head coach Jane Mooney said even if the placings weren’t anything to write home about, the personal bests were.
“Gabriel took 20 seconds off his personal best, which is far greater than I thought he would,” she said. “As for Aisling, she took two minutes off her best but in all honesty, she could have taken more off.
“She started off a bit slow but I think the nerves got the better of her. All in all, we had a great first day in the pool.”
The girls’ relay team hit a bit of a snag when one of the swimmers, Kierra McDonald, had her goggles snap during the race. She ended up swimming blind, as they say, because goggles help a swimmer see underwater.
“We work on the what-ifs quite a bit and that was one of the scenarios,” Mooney said. “We make the swimmers go without goggles, which means their eyes burn, but it’s used to make the swimmers perform under duress. She couldn’t have handled it any better.”
In volleyball, the girls’ team opened up with the daunting task of playing Ontario in the first game of their round-robin and fell in straight sets, 3-0.
But if the girls’ task was daunting, it was nothing on the boys’ squad who faced Manitoba in their opening game. Playing on Monday in front of a packed house, the hosts took the boys in straight sets, 3-0.
Fortunately, they had their own vocal cheering section thanks to the presence of the girls’ squad. That took the edge off a bit, said Othmer.
“They dressed up as characters from Dr. Seuss and got the boys’ spirits up,” he said. “The boys battled but the nerves just got the better of them, I think.”
The boys’ soccer team was scheduled to play against Newfoundland and Labrador on Monday and New Brunswick yesterday. The golf team teed off for their opening rounds yesterday. Jovic started her tennis journey yesterday. And the volleyball teams and swimmers continued their quests for success as well.
See Friday’s Yellowknifer for all the details.