The Cochrane Water Ninjas have defended their Alberta Lifesaving Sport Pool title and smashed 13 provincial records along the way.

Seventy-seven athletes from the club competed at the Alberta Lifesaving Sport Pool Championships in Camrose, from Mar. 31 to Apr. 2, and each member played an important role in the win, says head coach Marlee Palmer.

Besides establishing new records, the club had multiple top-place finishes across all age categories, from the 32 junior swimmers right through the adults. 

juniorsThe 32 swimmers in the 13 years and younger age category. 

"Some of the older guys surprised themselves with how fast they went at this meet. Even some of our masters had some best times as well. We're very happy with the result," says Palmer.

In recent seasons, there's been a growing number of parents joining to help build their masters membership.

mastersTen of the Master athletes who competed. From left, Lucy Toombes, Jen Walker, Susan Watkins, Brad Gilbert, Yolanda Martens, Angela Flaman, Pam Moores, Amy Swedlo, Allyson Billings, and Alex Fisher.

"I think the best thing to hear about it is that some of the parents get to swim with their kids and they get to see that reaction and kind of feel that same emotion that the swimmers go through. So that's pretty cool to see that, and now more parents want to join us. It's pretty fun to watch."

Last year there were provincial banners awarded for junior and open categories that were both claimed by the Water Ninjas. They were combined into one this year because all participated raced the short course. In previous years, the younger swimmers raced short course, and the oldest raced long course. 

Palmer says it's been another great season.

"A huge shout out to all the parents, volunteers, athletes, and coaches for contributing to the success of this team," says Palmer. "Congratulations on an excellent 2022/23 season."

The season, though, isn't quite over for about 24 of their athletes. The Water Ninjas are back in the water this week training for the nationals in Windsor, ON from June 10 to 11.

The Water Ninjas are also the reigning national champions thanks to a stellar performance by 25 athletes in Fort. McMurray last June. They are expecting some tough challenges for the title in Windsor.

"You don't know until you get there how many people are going to show up, but I think the competition will be a little bit stronger this year knowing that Ontario and Quebec have such big clubs and will more than likely bring more people than us."

medalsJust one of the many relay teams winning medals. This boys' 14-15 relay team won gold for the 4x25 manikin carry relay. Front, Isaac Thibodeau, and Caebri Smith; back, Brady Malley and Kyle Basaraba.

New provincial records set by Water Ninjas

4x50 Medley relay (14-15) Boys:  Blaise Anton, Caebri Smith, Isaac Thibodeau, Ollie Johnson 1:55.12

4x25 manikin carry relay (30+) Women's: Jen Walker, Allyson Billings, Yolanda Martens, Marlee Palmer 2:01.23

4x25 manikin carry relay (30+) Men’s:  Brad Gilbert, Alex Fisher, Brock Gilbert, Matt Johnston 1:41.54

4x25 manikin carry relay (16-19) Women's: Danielle Billings, Sydney Carnegie, Alana Martens, Csenia Irvin 1:55.35

4x50 Obstacle Relay (16-19) Women's: Csenia Irvin, Alana Martens, April Bushrod, Hannah Billings 2.12.83

4x50 Obstacle Relay (14-15) Boys- Isaac Thibodeau, Ollie Johnson, Eli Fitzsimmons, Caebri Smith 1.59.69

50 Manikin Carry (30+) Men: Matt Johnston, 38.61

100 Superlifesaver (14-15) Boys: Eli Fitzsimmons 1:24.62

200 Obstacle (30+) Women's: Marlee Palmer 2:33.83

100 Rescue Medley (30+) Women's: Marlee Palmer 1:17.62

100 Rescue Medley (14-15) Boys: Eli Fitzsimmons 1:09.80

100 Rescue Medley (30+) Men’s: Matt Johnson 1:12.15

100 Tow with fins (30+) Men’s: Matt Johnston 1:02.33

youth 1Zachary Walker and John Crutchfield with their silver medals for the 4x50m obstacle relay.
youth 2Freya MacDonald with her two top-place finish medals.