EDMONTON, A.B. — While four of their younger fellow teammates were at AA Provincials in Chilliwack, seven senior members of the Inconnu Swim Club travelled to Edmonton last weekend to participate in the OSC Mystery Meet.
The meet was put together with very short notice, and was hosted to enable athletes to try and attain qualifying times for the Speedo Western Canadian Open meet in April. With new regulations put in place this year by Swimming Canada, swimmers can only qualify for the meet with long course qualifying times, meaning that they must compete in a 50 metre pool. Since nearly all swimming pools in the Peace Region are 25 metres in length, the meet was the only opportunity for Inconnu’s swimmers to be able to qualify for the Western Canadian Open.
Of the seven swimmers that made the trip, three were able to make the qualifying standards. Brittany Welsh, Eric Louie and Tate Haugan all qualified, while Haugan also qualified for the Junior Canadian Championships in July in his last swim of the meet.
Head coach Steve Carson said that the meet was the first chance for the Inconnu to swim in a 50 metre pool this year. Carson explained that no matter how many years the athletes have been swimming, it can be difficult for the body to adjust to a course that has doubled in length. So far this year, Inconnu’s swimmers have swam more than 575 kilometres in training, all of it in the 25 metre lap pool at the North Peace Leisure Pool. Before they competed in the long course pool they were able to get in three and a half kilometres to try and get used to the new distance.
Carson said that with the tournament being put on with such short notice, and with Alberta Provincials this coming weekend, there were no more than 100 swimmers competing at the meet. This in turn meant that the swimmers would complete one events and then get right back up onto the blocks for the next with very little rest.
In an attempt to motivate the team coach Carson put his beard on the line, offering the next swimmer to make a qualifying time to shave his beard however they liked, which Carson would sport for a week. In his last swim of the meet Tate Haugan came through, and Carson will be spending the next few days with a Harvey Dent-style beard.
Carson added that he was extremely proud of how all the team’s athletes rose to the challenges at the meet with the amount of pressure that was on them.
The Inconnu Swim Club will be travelling to Victoria next Wednesday to compete at the Swim BC AAA Provincials, starting Thursday March 2nd.