Coach Travis Cummings from St. Tim's Junior and Senior High School couldn't be more proud.
After two years and some dedicated parent/coaches, St. Tim's was able to run the first Cochrane high school swim program and the results couldn't have been better.
"I have been trying to get a swim team started for the last couple of years or so but I just didn't want to go it alone. I am busy enough with cross country and track, so this year I had Pam Moores and Amy Swedlo step up and Michelle Cornish helped out too. With lots of help, we got it going, and it was well worth it. It has been a real community effort."
Competing as a school at the CSHSAA City Swim Championships on Dec 6th at Repsol Place in Calgary, Cummings, says he was beyond thrilled with the results of their inaugural season and effort made by all seven athletes. Competing in a variety of swimming events, the Thunder athletes showed strong results across the board.
"St. Timothy’s first ever swimming city championship was won by Bria Michalski in the girls 50m breaststroke, she swam a big personal best in a highly competitive race. Following Bria’s historic results, Eric Swedlo won two bronze medals for the Thunder swim team in the boys 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke and also posting strong results were Kennedy Michalski, Morgan Jeffries, Emily Carvalho, Jack Bentley, and Trevor Goodram."
Grade ten student, Bria Michalski was pretty stoked. "From what I know St. Tim's has expanded so much (since opening) and so many more programs have come our way. To be the first person to win this for the school is really great and even though we're from a small town and we are a small school, we can come and compete against larger schools and conquer them. I was ecstatic and so proud that I could do that for the school."
Giving thanks to her longtime mentor, Michalski says her fantastic performance stemmed from her time swimming for the Cochrane PIranhas. Although City Championships felt different than some of her other meets, she felt like Piranhas Coach, Breanna Hendriks, was with her. "She has had such a huge positive impact in my life that I don't think I could have done this without her. Even in our season now, it was nice to have that voice in the back of my head saying 'you got this'."
Although many of the athletes on the swim team are currently or have been active in various swim clubs including the Comets, Piranhas, and the Cochrane Water Ninjas, Cummings, shares the school was happy to give recognition at the school level to some of the hard-working swimmers in the community. "Kids who swim in their club spend so much time swimming, they don't often get to participate in other school sports so it was good for us to be able to offer it. Pound for pound they are some of the best athletes in the school and so I wanted to give them credit and recognition, now their peers can see how hard they're working and what they are accomplishing."
Cummings says he would often see upward fifteen athletes dive into St. Tim's three reserved lanes at the Jayman Aquatic Centre every Tuesday and Friday morning from 6 to 7:30 a.m. and the best part was watching all levels and grades come together. "We have had grade seven to twelve out the past couple weeks and with the program, we have kids who are learning how to swim, to kids that have a bit of a swimming background, to kids like the Swedlo's and the Michalski's who are already good swimmers. So we have been modifying the program to meet the needs."
Coach Cummings states all seven athletes who competed this season should be very proud of themselves as they have laid a solid foundation for the school swim team to build on going into the future. "It's good for us to be able to offer it because we are the only school who can. It will be part of our extracurricular programming from here on out. A big congrats to the kids, it has been a real collaborative effort. St. Timothy’s would also like to thank the Aquatics staff at Spray Lakes Rec and Leisure Centre for accommodating our early morning pool times to make this happen for our students."