East Elgin Eagles send six plus two relay teams to the provincial championships
while PCI's McCaw and St Joe's Keyes, Bonnett and para team also advance
Tuesday, February 21, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
LONDON, ON. - Briar McCaw and Kayla Keyes are returning to OFSAA, while Seth Walker will lead an entire flock of East Elgin Eagles.
Highlights were numerous for Elgin County schools at the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA) swim championships, at Western University.
Thirteeen individuals from East Elgin, St. Joe and Parkside and two Eagles' relay teams, advanced from WOSSAA to the provincial high school meet, March 5-6, in Toronto.
McCaw will make her second appearance at the Ontario high school provincial meet, qualifying in three races while breaking two meet records, in the under-14 girls' high school division.
"I'm super excited, super pumped," said the Grade 10 student at Parkside C.I. "I feel there is more competition in this area than last year."
In the 50-metre fly, McCaw lowered the meet record time to 32.79 seconds. But it was beat in the next heat by Rachel Turner, of London Oakridge, who shaved it down to 32.4 seconds.
Then McCaw and East Elgin Eagle Lauren Kremers tied for first in the 50-metre backstroke, both setting the new WOSSAA record time of 34.81 seconds.
"My I.M. was definitely my best today. I took off a ton of time," said McCaw. "In my 50 fly I placed second, but I did break a WOSSAA record. We both broke it but because she finished first, she gets her name in the books. That"s ok. It was a close race."
McCaw won the 100-metre I.M. (1:16.63), but no record, edging Abigail Young, of London Banting (1:16.65) at the wall.
A year ago McCaw competed in the 50 fly and 50 back at OFSAA.
"Hopefully I can make an A final. Last year I only managed to get into the B final," said McCaw, who will swim the 50 fly and 100 I.M. this year.
Participants are only allowed two individual events at OFSAA.
Walker, in the 15 years and over boys high school division, won the 50-metre fly in 29.15 seconds, the only sub 30 second finish and almost a second ahead of field. In taking the 100-metre I.M., Walker touched the wall over a second faster than WCI"s Jacob Corrigan-McCreery, winning gold in 1:08.87.
Corrigan-McCreery (26.55 seconds) did edge Walker (26.8 sec.) in the 50-metre free.
"I was expecting to get in the top three coming here to WOSSAA but I came out with a much better outcome," said Walker. "I'm really surprised. I've been away from the swim team for a year, but I've been taking off time ever since. This year it has been the 50 free. I've taken off about two and half seconds this year alone."
Kayla Keyes had a trio of second place finishes, qualifying in each of her three races, in the 15 years and over girls" high school division.
"I'm excited," said the St. Joseph"s Ram who heads to OFSAA for a fourth time. "It's an accomplishment and it's exciting every year that I get the chance to go."
In both the over 50-metre free (30.52 sec.) and 100-metre free (1:07.35), Keyes finished behind Athena Sy, of London Aquinas, who won the 50 in 29.26 seconds and the 100 in 1:06.35. In the 50 fly, Keyes (32.79 sec.) was right behind Julia Blaha, of Banting (32.44).
"I raced with them all throughout (high school) so I know them well," Keyes said, of Sy and Blaha. "I felt really well and better than I was expecting."
Former Ram Courtney Fox, still holds the meet record time of 1:05.54, for the 100 free, set in 2011.
Carson Bonnett, of St. Joe's, won the under-14 boys high school 50-metre backstroke by two and half seconds (33.5 seconds), just off the meet record time of 33.23 set in 2010 by Alex Hislop.
"It was a really great feeling when I finished," said the Grade nine student. "I thought I wouldn't make it to OFSAA. Then I saw the seed time and the OFSAA (qualifying) time. I ended up hitting it with 33.53. I am really happy, really excited. That would be my personal best. I was disappointed because I was close to the (WOSSAA) record. So next year."
Bonnett just missed qualifying for OFSAA in a second race, the 100 free, by three-tenths of the second (1:08.40).
Led by Walker, the Eagles have six individuals and two relay teams heading to OFSAA.
Kremers qualified in three events, the 50 back, the 100-metre I.M. (third, 1:20.67) and the U14 girls' 200-metre medley relay race, with Jillian Krahn, Sovann Green and Leah Collard (third, 2:38.83, behind London Banting and London Lucas).
Haileigh Neusteter placed sixth, in the 15 and over girls high school division 50 fly (34.56), just under the required OFSAA standard of 34.92.
Haley Broer qualified in two events, the open girls 200m IM (fourth, 2:36.9) and 100m breaststroke (fourth, 1:09.95)
Melena Siannas (third, 1:20.48) and Bri Cunningham (fifth, 1:21.37) both advanced in the 15 years and over girls' 100-metre backstroke.
The Eagles' 15 years and over girls' 200-metre medley team of Siannas, Cunningham, Sarah Smith and Haileigh Neusteter, qualified while bringing home the silver medal (2:30.95), finishing behind champion Stratford Northwestern (2:26.82).
St. Joe's handily won the para combined team title, led by Owen Gillett, who won the mixed para 50-metre freestyle race, in 42.7 seconds, the mixed para 100 free (1:44.91) and finished second in the mixed para 50-metre backstroke (55.07 seconds).
Gabriel Dala, Diego Alban-Gasca and Sarina Hu, placed in fourth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in the para 50-metre free. Dala and Alban-Diego were fourth and fifth, in the mixed para 50 backstroke.
Akie Walters of the Central Elgin Titans, didn't qualify for OFSAA, but the 13-year old set personal best times in each of her three races, the open girls' 50-metre free (10th, 29.64 sec.), 100-metre free (fifth, 1:06.62) and 100-metre back (ninth, 1:16.27).
Local Top 10 WOSSAA (non-OFSAA qualifiers)
Open girls: Maggie Zimmer (East Elgin), fifth, 200m free (2:44.66); East Elgin 200-metre medley relay team of Kaitlyn Preszcator, Kaylee Smith, Haley Broer, Maggie Zimmer, seventh (2:30.02); Parkside 200-metre medley relay team of Briar McCaw, Kailey Dennis, Rayne Olver, Allison Duncan, eighth (2:35.25); Akie Walters (CECI), fifth, 100m free (1:06.62), ninth, 100m back (1:16.27), 10th, 50 free (29.64 sec.); East Elgin 400m free relay team of Kaylee Smith, Kaitlyn Preszcator, Maggie Zimmer, Haley Broer, third (4:47.74)
Open boys: Luke Barry (SJHS), sixth, 100m breaststroke (1:19.79)
High school 15 years and over girls: Haileigh Neusteter (EESS), third, 100m I.M. (1:21.86); Sarah Smith (EESS), fifth, 100m free (1:14.1), sixth, 200m free (2:53.18); Allison Duncan (PCI), sixth, 50 free (33.03 sec.); Haeley Demeray (SJHS), sixth, 100m free (1:15.23); Bri Cunningham (EESS), seventh, 100m I.M. (1:27.06), Julia McCord (SJHS), eighth, 100m back (1:31.68), Madeline Propper (SJHS), 10th, 100m back (1:33.54); East Elgin's 200m free relay team of Siannas, Neusteter, Smith, Cunningham, third (2:14.06); St. Joe's 200m free relay team of Demeray, Emma Kebbel, Julia McCord, Keyes, fifth (2:18.03)
High school 15 years and over boys: East Elgin's 200-metre medley relay team of Joshua Hernandez, Nick Cowx, Seth Walker and Ethan Neusteter, second (2:19.44); Ethan Neusteter, (EESS), sixth, 50 free (28.93 sec.), sixth, 50m fly (32.5 sec.), eighth, 100m free (1:09.7).
High school U14 boys: Nick Cowx (EESS), third, 100 I.M. (1:25.68), sixth, 50m breaststroke (40.77 sec.); Joshua Hernandez (EESS), fourth, 100m I.M. (1:28.35), eighth, 50m breaststroke (41.44 sec.); Carson Bonnett (SJHS), fourth, 100m free, eighth, 50 free (29.75 sec.); St. Joe's 200m free relay team of James Hill, Shawn Buchanan, Liam Baker, Carson Bonnett, sixth, (2:23.91)
High school U14 girls: East Elgin 200m free relay team of Jillian Krahn, Leah Collard, Sovann Green, Lauren Kremers, eighth (2:26.55); St. Joe's 200m free relay team of Reina Dawdy, Alyssa Rioux, Emily Schnurr, Megan McCord, ninth (2:27.55).