Bluebacks in the fast lane

The Terrace Bluebacks sent the biggest team in nearly a decade to the Kitimat Marlins NW Regional Swim Meet May 3-5

The Terrace Bluebacks sent the biggest team in nearly a decade to the Kitimat Marlins NW Regional Swim Meet May 3-5 and the extra support appeared to pay off.

The team took first place in 15 events and 10 Bluebacks clocked best times in every event.

And 10-year-old Brayden Phillips earned the individual aggregate gold medal for the 10 and under boys. He took first place in all seven of his events, earning 49 points.

He has also qualified for AAA provincials in 200 m breast stroke, where he will compete as part of Points North and be one fourth of a solid relay team, and the only 10-year-old to make the cut.

The provincial AAA time standard for 11 and under boys is 3:25.20. Phillips swam a 3:21.52 in Kitimat, beating his previous time by over eight seconds, noted coach Mike Christensen.

As a competitor, Phillips is the whole package, says Christensen. He loves to train and loves to race—and is talented to boot.

There are a lot of swimmers who love the training part, but get jittery before races, or who love the thrill of the race, but don’t like the training.

“Brayden loves both,” he said.

Other Bluebacks still have a chance to qualify for provincials at the upcoming meet in Prince Rupert May 31-June 2. Thomas Christensen has qualified for AA but has not yet committed to the meet.

This is the time of year that swimmers start paying attention to other sports, said Christensen, which the club encourages because it helps the team members become more well-rounded athletes.

This year, the club has focussed on developing a strong team mentality and having fun at meets.

The more experienced swimmers have been an integral part of the team, said Christensen, mentoring the younger swimmers and helping shape a strong sense of camaraderie.

Take assistant captain Bethany Burnett—she has been a leader all year, but could not attend the Kitimat meet because she was trying out for her soccer team. So she taught the group a cheer before they left for the meet, which the team then warmed up with every morning.