Three Airdrie swimmers had their first taste of national competition July 24 to 29, when they competed at the 2019 Canadian Junior Championships in Calgary.
Montana Dobry, Nathan Wong and Sean Penner, all members of the Nose Creek Swim Association (NCSA), enjoyed home-pool advantage at Repsol Sport Centre – one of the two pools NCSA swimmers train at.
“It was nice to not have to travel, and to have the comforts of home,” coach Alex Schultze said. “Next year, [junior nationals] will be in Montreal, so that will be a little bit of a change – it’ll be in an outdoor pool.”
Wong kicked things off July 24, racing in the 100-metre (m) butterfly. The 14-year-old touched the wall in 1:02.38, putting him in 21st place in the boys’ 14- to 15-year-old age class.
He also raced in the 200-m butterfly July 26, finishing in 29th place with a time of 2:24.89.
The highlight of Dobry’s meet was the 100-metre (m) breaststroke event. With a time of 1:20.37, the 13-year-old’s performance moved her from 28th to 20th in the national rankings for her age group.
The Beiseker Community School student said she was proud of her performance in the breaststroke.
“I wasn’t expecting to make a final or anything, but I wanted to come up a few places, which I did,” she said. “This is a big meet, and it’s my first one, so I wasn’t expecting to get a medal out of this, or even a final.”
NCSA’s oldest competitor at the meet was Penner, who competed in the 100-m freestyle July 25 and the 50-m freestyle July 28.
After finishing 30th in the 100-m with a time of 55.96 seconds, the 16-year-old rounded out his competition with a 25.83-second swim in the 50-m, placing him in 28th place.
“It could have been better,” said Penner, a St. Martin de Porres student who earned four gold medals at the Alberta Summer Championships. “It wasn’t a great swim, but the experience will help me develop for the future.
“It’s hard competition, [but good] to see where I have to get up to.”
Schultze said he was impressed by Penner’s performances, considering he aged up right before the meet and was racing against 17- and 18-year-olds.
“This was his first time for him at this kind of level,” he said. “It was a pretty big step up – there were a lot of really fast kids.”
While junior nationals marked the end of Dobry’s long-course season, Wong and Penner will represent Alberta at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games, Aug. 9 to 18 in Swift Current, Sask.