By Taffin Sekulin
On Sunday January 29 the Waterloo–Oxford Association swim team (WOA/WAAC) hosted their first meet of the new year against the Norfolk Hammerheads Aquatic Club (NHAC). Of the 113 swimmers that attended 73 were from WOA and 38 from NHAC.
The team had a very successful day winning the meet and having swimmers place high, improving their racing times. Alex Buehlow (17), Katie Cameron (12), Ally Govier (14), Aroura House (4), Jacob Issac (12) and Brayden Van De Wynckel (7) all placed first in all four of the events that they raced and overall 23 swimmers improved their times in all their races. There were five club records broken that day, Jacob Issac broke and now holds the record for 12 year old boys 100 meter backstroke, 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter butterfly, and 400 meter freestyle. Brayden Van De Wynckel also broke the record for 7 and 8 year old boys 100 meter freestyle. In addition Josh Cober took a total of 80 seconds off his four races throughout the day.
“This year the team’s level of commitment has really improved and we all have been anticipating the opening of the new pool which has been a contributing factor,” says head coach Joni Maerten-Sanders who has been coaching the team for 11 years. “When I started with the team we had 23 swimmers and six masters. The team now has 97 swimmers including masters.”
The team has grown quite a bit since the beginning of Maerten-Sander’s time coaching and is still continuing to grow.
The meet turned out quite well in terms of running smothly and the new pool contributed greatly to the success. The team moved to the new pool at the beginning of January very eager to practise in it and be able to host larger meets. The new facility has given the team and the Township of Wilmot the oppourtunity to hold the Aqua 7 Finals this year that have been held at the University of Guelph for the past several years. The team are the defending champions from last year and have won every Aqua 7 meet they have attended so far this season.
On another note the team has four swimmers that have almost qualified for Junior and Senior Nationals as well as the Paralymic Games. Mary Tilford and Jacob Issac for Junior Nationals, Alex Buehlow for Senior Nationals and Mike Heath (already quaified) for the Paralympics Trials in March. Alex Buehlow will also be attempting to quailfy for the Paralympic Trials.
“I have to work harder than I’m working now in practise and push myself harder if I want to make it, or I’ll just stay the same speed,” says Jacob Issac who is just seconds shy of qualifying in 50 meter butterfly, 100 meter butterfly and 200 meter I.M.
With the Short Course season soon ending the team has 20 swimmers that have qualified for the Regional Championships in London this weekend. Then after this weekend the team has the next three weekends mapped out for them with meets that will bring the Short Course season to a close. The Short Course Provincial Chamionships are the first weekend of March and so far the team has two swimmers qualified for it.
“The times for Provincials and Nationals are so close that once you’ve made Provincials you’ve basically made Nationals,” mentions Maerten-Sanders. The team is hoping that with the Long Course season around the corner that there will be more quailfiers for both Regionals and Provincials coming up in June.