After a stellar performance at the SWORSA semi-finals three weeks ago, the Woolwich Wave swim team continued to ride the swell of success all the way to the finals this weekend, winning the SWORSA championship outright for the first time since 1994.
Competing at the Wilmot recreation centre on Saturday, the team outmanoeuvred swimmers from the Fergus Flippers and Kincardine Kippers to take home not one, but two of the three trophies on offer.
There were strong performances all around this year, said team manager Erin Schmidt, with the girls in particular doing especially well. Besides winning the main trophy for the year, the Waves claimed the girls’ trophy as well, losing out on the boys’ trophy to their rivals.
“Everybody’s pretty excited that we won the overall championship and the girls’ overall championship,” said Schmidt.
Naturally, with the success of the female contingent of the team, the Wave girls crowded the winner’s podium this year, taking home the gold in the U8, U10, U12, U14, as well as several silvers and bronzes on top of that.
The gold medalist girls were Angela Levac in the U8 bracket, Isobel Speiran in U10, Vanessa Gadsby in U12 and Taylor Girling in the U14. In the U10 and U12s, the Woolwich Wave girls secured all three top spots of gold, silver and bronze, while Speiran and Gadsby won at two new events this year – in the U10 50m breaststroke and the U12 100m breaststroke, respectively – becoming the default record-holders for those events.
“They are the record holders,” said Schmidt of Speiran and Gadsby, “and actually those two swimmers are fairly really quite strong swimmers, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they held the records there for quite a number of years.”
The Wave’s less numerous contingent of boys scored more than a few wins for the team as well, earning bronze and silver medals from the U8 to the U14 groups with Ian Speiran clinching the gold medal in the boys U12.
“Ian (Speiran) plays a lot of hockey in the winter and comes and swims in the summer when they have swimming season and are off-season for hockey. He’s just an athletic boy and enjoys swimming.”
Unfortunately, explains Schmidt, the ratio of girls to boys for the team is about two-to-one, meaning the boys had a harder time competing with their more numerous rivals in the Flippers and Kippers. That’s one of the things the team is hoping to change next season.
“I think we’re still going to continue to try to build the number of boys we have, so probably recruiting boys that either want to swim all year long or even just are strong swimmers and are looking for something to do in the summer like Ian does,” said Schmidt.
Medals are awarded by adding up the points from each swimmer’s individual events, and then totalling the result over the age group. To keep things fair, all swimmers are only allowed to participate in a maximum of three events.
The SWORSA swim league is characterized as less competitive and more recreational than some of the other leagues out there. They generally practice twice a week, while a lot of the emphasis is just on getting kids out and keeping them active. But that’s not to say that there wasn’t a lot of hard work and effort involved.
“Yes, everybody was really excited. They’ve been working towards this for quite a bit,” said Schmidt. “And the coaches too, trying to (both get) more people involved in the team and just practicing really hard. Everybody feels pretty excited.”
The team will be going on a much deserved break for the next few weeks until the end of September when the winter season begins. All that’s left to now, with the season over, is to put up the hardware.
“We’ve got to find a place to put the trophy. We have to negotiate a spot at the pool amongst all the hockey trophies,” says Schmidt.