Leads St. Joe's para team to sixth place, while the East Elgin Eagles have
three top 10 results at the high school provincial swim championships
Thursday, March 5th, 2020
By Rob J. Ross
TORONTO, ON. - Owen Gillet was about to exit the Pan Am Centre.
The St. Joseph's Ram had already left the pool thinking he had missed the podium, in the para men's 50 metre back stroke, at the OFSAA swimming championships, March 3-4th.
Then East Elgin Eagles' coach Carol McNiece informed Gillet had won a bronze medal at the high school provincial meet.
"Carol stopped me on my way out from the change room and said she thinks I got third," Gillet said. "It feels pretty cool. I'm looking forward to going back to school and sharing it with my friends."
As Gillet touched the wall finishing the 50 back, in 45.65 seconds, he was somewhat disappointed with the result.
"During the race I was trying to beat this guy beside me, but I couldn't quite get him," said the Grade 11 student. "After I finished I thought, at least I got the opportunity, not quite there but still a good attempt. Then I was surprised when I heard. A nice surprise."
Gillet also finished eighth in the para men's 50-metre free, leading the St. Joe's para team of four swimmers, to sixth overall.
"An improvement from last year," Gillet said of his race time of 39.22 seconds. "I've had lots of help this season from my coaches (Sue Zimmer).
Gillet has had three heart operations since birth due to a congenital heart defect and his right side of his heart (ventricle) functions for both sides. His condition, however, hasn't prevented Gillet from playing sports, from hockey, baseball and golf, to swimming and cross country.
"He is one of the toughest athletes I know," St. Joe's cross country coach Annette Barry said. "Couldn't be prouder of this kid. His example of resiliency, hard work and humility is a gift."
Diego Alban-Gasca was 13th, in the men's para 50 back (1:10.81) and 20th, in the 50 free (50.26 sec.).
Gabe Dala was 15th, in the men's para 50 back (1:16.26) and 25th, in the 50 free (59.11 sec.).
Serena Hu finished 24th, in the women's para 50 free (1:13.39).
Eagles in eight finals
The East Elgin Eagles team of 15 swimmers placed 24th overall and were the top school out of the WOSSAA region. The Eagles made appearances in three A finals and five B finals.
"I am very proud of all 15 Eagles. I was thrilled that four relay teams qualified for OFSAA," McNiece said. "My focus was the relays and the swimmers working together as a team. (They) worked hard and responded to the small technical pointers to make them better swimmers. Their underwater work, turns and dives really improved and the results were apparent at OFSAA."
Lauren Kremers finished sixth in both the high school division 50-metre fly (33.25 sec.) and 50 back (34.44 sec.), leading the Eagles' junior girls (under-14) team to ninth place.
Brianna Syrnyk, a Grade nine student, finished seventh in the B final for the high school division U14 girls' 50 fly and 18th, in the 50 back (36.58 sec.).
Kremers, Syrnyk, Sovann Green and Leah Collard, finished sixth in the A final of the 200-metre medley relay (2:26.35).
Eagles' Alyssa Voros was eighth in the A final of the high school division 15 years and over (senior) girls' 100-metre back (1:16.54).
"When I got the heat sheets I was ranked sixth. I didn't expect that at all. When I made it to final that was the goal. I was happy either A final or B final," said Voros, who returned to the pool for the first time in her high school career. "I didn't even know that I could make it here (OFSAA). Just to be here is awesome. An incredible experience. This facility is amazing. The atmosphere is pretty cool."
Voros set a personal best (PB) time of 1:14.44 in the heats for the 100 back.
"At the beginning of the season I started around 1:19, so to take off five seconds in a season in incredible, said Voros, who also placed 23rd in the 50 fly and helped Eagles' 15 years and over girls' 200 medley relay with Siannas, Collard and Krahn, finish 21st (2:29.34).
Seth Walker placed fourth in the B final for the high school division 15 years and over boys' 100-metre I.M. (1:08.74) and fifth in the B final for the 50 fly (29.46 sec.).
Emma Beggs, a Grade nine student, placed second in the B final, 10th overall, in the open (Grades nine to 12) girls' I.M. and sixth in the B final, 14th overall, in the 100-metre breast stroke (1:18.06).
"My times were better than I was expecting," said Beggs, who will be staying at Pan Am Centre for the club provincials starting March 5th. Beggs will be swimming for the Ingersoll Speed Sharks in four events. "The relay is my favourite event. I really enjoy being with a team. It was a lot of fun."
Beggs, Kaylee Smith, Haley Broer and Kaitlyn Preszcator, were third in the B final, 11th overall, in the open girls' 200-metre medley relay (2:12.4).
"It was super exciting. We were really determined to make OFSAA and to make B final is really cool. We were happy with our race. It's a great experience," Preszcator said. "It's cool to be swimming against people at this level."
The Eagles' 15 years and over boys 200-metre medley relay of Walker, Cowx, Neusteter and Hernandez, were disqualified, but were satisfied with their swim.
It is the second consecutive year the Eagles have had swimmers in the double digits at OFSAA. A year ago 10 Eagles were in the pool at OFSAA.
"Brennan Piche started the ball rolling at OFSAA in 2018. He worked hard and earned a silver medal in 50m para back," said McNiece.
Parkside Stampeder Briar McCaw was 21st, in the high school division 15 years and over girls' 50 fly (33.7 sec.) and 23rd, in the 100-metre I.M. (1:19.67).
St. Joseph's Ram Luke Barry placed 21st, in the open boys' 100-metre breaststroke (1:14.09).
Aiden Currah, of Dorchester, was 70th, in the open boys' 100 free (59.99 sec.).
TVRA swimming 2020
TVRA swimming 2020
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