The Manitoba-Saskatchewan Open Short Course Championships was held in Winnipeg at the Pan Am Pool, the site of the 1967 Pan American Games and where American swimmer Mark Spitz and Canadian swimmer Elaine Tanner set numerous world records.
The Championships feature 30 clubs from Western Canada as well as teams from Ontario with 450 plus swimmers competing on the weekend of March 13-16. Three age group categories were swum with A & B finals and they were 13 and under, 14-15 and 16 and over for men, 12 and under, 13-14 and 15 and over for women.
Qualifying for the ManSask Championships from Swift Current Barracudas and making the trip to Winnipeg with Head Coach Gary Cheung were Jenna McDonald (13), Kyle Kissick (14) and two new qualifiers Juliana Whalen and Amber Hansen, both were 12.
“With over 450 swimmers, this is one of the largest Age Group Inter-Provincial Championships Canada has to offer,” said coach Gary Cheung.
The highlight of the meet was Amber Hansen. Despite it being her first time competing in ManSask Championships, she managed to rewrite her best time in every event she entered, as well as qualified for a number of final swims.
Day one of the meet saw an exciting start for Hansen, not only winning her heat in 200 I.M, but also shaved off 30 seconds with a personal best of 2:57.21. Her teammates, Jenna McDonald and Juliana Whalen also swam their best times, 2:55.43 and 3:03.19 respectively in 200 I.M.
“It was great to see everyone stood out for themselves and their team. A coach from other Saskatchewan swim clubs standing next to me wondering how our swimmers could shave off so much time and winning their heats,” said Cheung.
Concluding the first evening of the meet for the Barracudas was Kyle Kissick, who finished 10th in 200 I.M. during preliminaries in a time of 2:30.24, thus qualified for B final on the Saturday evening.
The second day of competition at Pan Am Pool began with Jenna McDonald settling for two personal best swims in 50 freestyle in a time of 30.87 and 100 backstroke in 1:19.81, followed by Hansen in 200 Breaststroke. She finished 15th overall in B final with another personal best of 3:18.19, while Kissick finished seventh with his best time of 2:44.95 in the A final.
The third day of the Championships resulted in some impressive performances from Barracudas swimmers. Beginning with Jenna McDonald and Juliana Whalen best time performances in 100 freestyle in a time of 1:07.36 and 1:15.20 respectively. Following by teammate Hansen finishing seventh and qualified for A final in 50 breaststroke with a personal best of 41.43 in the morning heat.
During the final, Hansen managed to take off another 1.16 seconds with a new personal best of 40.27, moving her place up to sixth overall. Shortly after, Kyle Kissick sprinted home in 50 Breaststroke with a personal best of 35.63 in the morning and finished 16th overall with another personal best of 35.49.
Despite the last day being the toughest day at ManSask Championships, Barracudas swimmers gathered all their remaining strength to wrap up this short course season. Juliana swam a new best time in 50 Fly in a time of 38.58, while her teammates Kyle and Amber advanced to finals in 100 Breaststroke.
When it did not result in two medals in both men and women 100 breast finals for the Barracudas, Amber Hansen wrapped up her first ManSask Championships by finishing in 11th place overall, plus taking off another 1.43 seconds with a new personal best time of 1:30.37, followed by Kissick’s eighth place finish with a new personal best of 1:15.70.
“Everyone continued to exceed my expectations. There is not a doubt that the team will continue to grow. Soon we’ll have more ManSask qualifiers as well as medal contenders,” explained Cheung.
Congratulations to the Barracudas swimmers in their best time achievement:
Amber Hansen (12)
200 IM – 2:57.21
200 Breast – 3:18.19
50 Free – 34.19
100 Free – 1:16.49
50 Breast – 40.27
50 Fly – 38.66
100 Breast – 1:30.37
Jenna McDonald (13)
200 IM – 2:55.43
50 Free – 30.87
100 Back – 1:19.81
100 Free – 1:07.36
50 Breast – 41.93
Juliana Whalen (12)
200 IM – 3:03.19
100 Free – 1:15.20
50 Fly – 38.58
Kyle Kissick (14)
200 Breast – 2:44.95
100 Free – 1:01.68
50 Breast – 35.49
100 Breast – 1:15.70