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WOSSAA swimming

 Pair of gold swims highlight WOSSAA


   East Elgin Eagles Emma Beggs and Parkside Stampeder Siena Begeman both

   win twice at the WOSSAA swimming championships to advance to OFSAA


  February 19, 2023


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By Rob J. Ross

LONDON, Ont. - Emma Beggs is returning to OFSAA while Siena Begeman makes her debut.

Both athletes won two individual races at the WOSSAA swimming championships Feb 15 at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre, automatically qualifying for the high school provincial championships, Feb 29 - March 1 in Windsor.

Beggs, with the East Elgin Eagles, won the open girls' 100-meter breaststroke (1:15.61) and 200-meter I.M. (2:37.81)

"I was proud of all of my races. I swam super fast like I haven't swam in quite some time. I was throwing down some best times which is really nice to do and I wasn't expecting that in any way," Beggs said. "The relay is for sure the highlight of high school swimming. We definitely peaked at the right moment."

Along with Eagles' teammates Valaurie Carson and sisters Ainsley and Brooke Preszcator, Beggs won the open girls' 200-meter medley relay (2:13.91) and 400-meter freestyle (4:40.17) relay.

"We really pulled through," Beggs said. "We were ranked first going in to the 200 medley relay, but for the 400 free relay, we haven't swam it yet this year. To finish first is just an awesome feeling. None of us are freestylers, but we really put our work together and it paid off."

The Grade 12 student, who will be attending Edinboro University late this year, welcomes to return of OFSAA after its cancellation in 2021 and 2022.

"Not having it those two years definitely sucked," Beggs said. "It was an experience of the lifetime in Grade nine. To be back there I'm just hoping for some good swims and that team camaraderie again."

The Eagles high school girls 15 years and over 200 meter free relay team of are Bri Syrnyk, Lauren Collard, Cadence Neusteter and Ellery Beilhartz, also advances to OFSAA.

Begeman won the open girls' 100 (1:05.88) and 200-meter (2:24.18) free races, repeating the feat the Grade 10 Parkside Stampeder achieved at the Thames Valley Regional Athletics (TVRA) meet one week earlier.

"I was not expecting to win again, but I was working my best in order to," said Begeman. "I feel very excited and privileged to get a chance to go to OFSAA. I swam my hardest at WOSSAA and I'm am eager to improve at Windsor. My strength in swimming is my front crawl, which I have been doing for years, and is my favourite stroke.

A member of the St. Thomas Jumbo Jets team, Begeman also finished fourth, in the open girls' 50 free (30.14 sec.).

"My goals for OFSAA are to improve on my times from WOSSAA and to have a great experience at such a large meet," said Begeman, who lives in Sparta.

The St. Joseph's Rams' high school boys 15 years and over 200 free relay team of Dmytro Heichenko, Ryan Didham, Shalem Hernandez and Jaden de Miranda, won gold finishing in 1:59.87.

Event winners at WOSSAA automatically qualify for OFSAA. In previous years, swimmers had to meet the OFSAA standard for their races.

On Wednesday, February 22nd, OFSAA will announce the remainder of the qualifiers, the top 50 times from all conference meets from across the province.

All competitors in the para divisions at WOSSAA do move on. St. Joseph's Rams' Diego Alban-Gasca and Gabriel Dala, will swim in the 50 free and 50 back at OFSAA.

Several Elgin County swimmers could hear their names called for OFSAA is their times were among the top 50 from all conference meets across Ontario. A guide is the qualifying times from 2020.

Ainsley Preszcator, who is going to OFSAA for two relays, also placed second in the open girls' 100 back (1:12.00) and third in the 50 free (29.56 sec.), both races finishing behind incredible times by 14-year old Esther Lu, of London CCH (1:07.98 and 27.98).

"In the relays, I did best times, so that was really good. In my individual events I was close to best times," said Ainsley, who heads to her first OFSAA. "Obviously I want to swim my best, but I want to go more for the experience because it doesn't happen to everybody. I want to make sure I really enjoy my time there."

Rosie McCaw continues to add to her pile of blue second place ribbons. The Parkside Stampeder repeated her results of TVRA, with three second place finishes at WOSSAA, in the high school girls 14 years and under 50 back (35.53 sec.), 50 fly (34.43 sec.) and 100 I.M. (1:20.43).

McCaw was out touched at the wall by Catharine Robinson, of the Laurier Rams, in the 50 fly, who won in 34.22 seconds.

"I did pretty well today and we know there's always room for improvement. Hopefully I can work towards that at OFSAA," said McCaw. "My 50 fly, I was point 2 away from (Robinson). We were super, super close. I swam the 100 I.M. and took two seconds off (PB). I swam the 50 back and took a few milliseconds off that one."

Alexis Gray had a pair of second place finishes for the Stampeders within a 20 minute span, in the high school girls 14 years and under 50 free (31.27 sec.) and 100 free (1:14.28) and took third, in the 50 back (37.56 sec.) behind McCaw.

"I wish I did a little bit better," said Gray. "My 50 free I thought I did well in, but my 100 free wasn't my best race. I didn't PB and I couldn't see very well and I was exhausted. I had a 20 minute break between (races) and my legs were numb and I was tired."

The Stampeders' open girls' 200m medley relay team of Begeman, Gray, Emily Landon and Ruby Watson, placed seventh (2:36.47).


Complete WOSSAA results

Elgin County - Dorchester results


Reina Walters, open girls, 100 breaststroke (1:34.28) 10th, 100 back (1:26.16) 10th, 50 free (34.68 sec.) 17th; Ty Theil, high school boys 15 years and over, breaststroke (1:38.54) 12th; Brianna McCague, high school girls 15 years and over, breaststroke (1:44.83) 15th; Lizzy Woolsey, high school girls 14U, 50 breaststroke (49.92 sec.) 18th; Carson Taylor, high school boys 15 years and over, 50 free (33.6) 27th; high school girls 15 years and over, 200 free relay of Isabel Southorn, Paige Smith, Hannah Scott, Brianna McCague (2:44.11) 12th.



Sammy Gardner-Bell, open boys, 100 I.M. (1:18.39) fifth, 200 I.M. (2:50.25) sixth, 50 free (29.35 sec.) 13th.

East Elgin
Neustater, high school girls 15 years and over, 50 free (31.41 sec.) second, 100 back (1:24.95) third; Brooke Preszcator, open girls, 100 back (1:18.02) third, 100 I.M. (1:18.94) fifth; Collard, high school girls 14U 50 fly (43.86 sec.) third, 50 breaststroke (42.36 sec.) 11th; Bri Syrnyk, high school girls 15 years and over, 50 fly (36.12 sec.) fourth, 50 free (33.87 sec.0 12th; Matthew de Gelder, high school U14 boys, 50 free (30.97 sec.) eighth, 50 back (43.02 sec.) seventh; Valaurie Carson, open girls 100 free (1:17.29) ninth; Sam de Gelder, high school boys 15 years and over, 100 breaststroke (1:38.43) 11th; 50 free (31.62 sec.) 20th; Mariska Buro, open girls, breaststroke (1:39.24) 12th; Ellery Beilhartz, high school girls 15 year and over, 100 breaststroke (1:51.94);

Ruby Watson, high school girls 15 and over, 50 free (33.10 sec.) 6th; Emily Wilcox, high school girls 15 and over, 100 breaststroke, 7th (1:41.65), 50 free (36.39 sec.), 25th; Garrett Haveman, open boys, 100 fly (1:10.39) eighth, 50 free (28.23 sec.) 10th, 100 free (1:04.27) 16th; Emily Landon, open girls, 50 free (34.89 sec.) 18th; Addison Martin, high school girls 14U, 50 free (40.17 sec.) 36th; high school girls 15 years and over, 200 free relay, McCaw, Lynsey Last, Addison Martin, Emma Wilcox (2:29.08) seventh.

St. Joe's
Jaden de Miranda high school boys 15 years and over, 50 fly (31.66 sec.) second, 100 free (1:04.78) second, 50 free (27.97 sec.) fourth; Diego Alban-Gasca, para 15 years and over, 50 free, second, 50 back, third; Sarah Van Velzer, high school girls 15 years and under, 50 free (32.30 sec,) third, 50 breaststroke (1:33.35) fourth, 100 free (1:13.7) fourth; Ryan Didham, high school boys 14U, 50 back (40.11 sec.) third, 50 free (31.94 sec.) 11th; Gabriel Dala, para 15 years and over, 50 free, fourth, 50 back, fourth; Rebecca Rivard, high school girls 15 years and over, 200 free, (2:59.81) fifth, 100 free (1:19.58) 10th; Shalem Hernandez, high school boys 14U, 50 free (30.44 sec.) fifth, 100 free (1:13.570 fifth, 50 breaststroke (46.63 sec.) 17th; Isa Van Pelt-Castro, high school girls 15 years and over, 50, (38.87 sec.) seventh, 50 free (33.48 ec.) ninth; Dmytro Heichenko, high school boys 15 years and over, 100 free (1:11.21) seventh, 50 free (30.37 sec.) 13th; Lydia Drummelsmith, high school girls 14U, 100 free (1:25.55) ninth, 50 free (37.14 sec.) 18th; 50 breaststroke (51.92 sec.) 24th; high school girls 15 years and over, 200m free relay, Isa Van Pelt-Castro, Rviard, Drummelsmith, Emma Wilcox (2:21.55) sixth.






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