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Monday, Aug. 20, 2018
Swimming standouts at Sudbury Regionals
by Randy Pascal

Twenty-one different clubs combined to send more than 580 young swimmers, totalling 3266 separate race entries at the Olympic Gold Pool as Laurentian University once again served as host venue to the Jeno Tihanyi NEOR/Huronia Regional Swim Championships earlier this month.

Of particular interest to Sudbury and area swim fans was a total of seven local athletes who would manage to work their way into the top three in the high points standings in their respective age brackets, a contingent that included 11 year old James Bertrim, second only to Jordi Vlichez from Barrie.

Scuffling through the first month or so of the season, Bertrim would see his times really take off when he climbed another step of the competitive ladder with the Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club. “I was in a lower group, at the start, but got moved up to (coach) Connor Watson’s group,” noted Bertrim. “After a couple of months, my times were dropping very good.”

“The times were dropping across all strokes. It was really quite unusual at first, because the training that we were doing was a lot different. There was a lot more difficult times to make and things to do, which challenged me in a way that really helped me improve.”

Throw in a little sibling rivalry on the side, just for good measure, as older sister Ali (13) also finished second in her grouping, and one can see plenty of motivation for the “AAA” hockey talent. “She has her specialty, the fly, mine is more breaststroke and freestyle,” he said. “If you compare times to when she was 11 and I was 11, they are very similar.”

With just seven swimmers on hand, the Valley East Waves were more about quality than quantity. Coming off a high point performance at the Dave Kensit Championships earlier this winter in Sault Ste Marie, 11 year old Coralie Bernier was pretty pumped heading into an even bigger meet this time around.

“I was mostly excited to try and get a medal, and I ended up getting two third places yesterday,” she stated late on Sunday afternoon. “I’m not really a person for the 50m pools, but now that I’m getting more used to it, I like it more.”

And like Bertrim, Bernier did not have to look far to find a personal challenge that could push her to be her best. “At first, someone from my team had a better time than me, and I didn’t want that to happen again, so I sprinted and sprinted to try and beat him,” she explained with a smile.

Yet another product of a swimming family, 10 year old Lainna Munro has a wonderful role model to follow in the form of older sister Aislinn, a regular when it comes to meeting provincial qualification standards and the like.

“I think that I kind of got my butterfly from her, because when people see us, they say that we’re good at it,” explained Lainna. And like Bernier, Munro is not completely sold yet on the long course season, when the youngsters race consistently in 50 metre pools versus the standard 25 metres that are far more prevalent for training purposes.

“I like short course, because the dolphin kicks get you farther, a little bit, so it’s better to make PBs.” Following is a complete listing of local swimmers in cracked the top five in their aggregate meet scores for their respective age categories:

James Bertrim (SLSC) - 17 pts (11 year old boys)
Keegan Lepage (NCA) - 8 pts (12 year old boys)
Ali Bertrim (SLSC) - 17 points (13 year old girls)
Jordano Piccoli (SLSC) - 11 points (13 year old boys)
Ryan Tom (SLSC) - 10 points (13 year old boys)
Bella Mastroianni (SLSC) - 22 points (14 year old girls)
Hannah Nordquist (SLSC) - 11 points (14 year old girls)
Alexandre Landry (VEW) - 16 points (14 year old boys)
Natalie Lefebvre (SLSC) - 10 points (15 & over girls)
Matthew Schouten (SLSC) - 21 points (15 & over boys)
Everett Smith (SLSC) - 13 points (15 & over boys)
Thomas Boyd (SLSC) - 12 points (15 & over boys)
Desmond Wood-Anderson (SLSC) - 12 points (15 & over boys)

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