Castlegar pair aim to make waves at provincials

The Kootenay Swim Club is busy preparing for this weekend’s AA Provincials in Chilliwack – and two members of the team can’t wait to compete.

TOP — Gabrielle Hanvold (left) and Tenysha Ross-Van Mierlo take a break from swimming to pose for a photo. The girls are busy preparing with the West Kootenay Swim Club for AA provincials this weekend in Chilliwack.

TOP — Gabrielle Hanvold (left) and Tenysha Ross-Van Mierlo take a break from swimming to pose for a photo. The girls are busy preparing with the West Kootenay Swim Club for AA provincials this weekend in Chilliwack.

The Kootenay Swim Club is busy preparing for this weekend’s AA Provincials in Chilliwack – and two members of the team can’t wait to compete.

Gabrielle Hanvold and Tenysha Ross-Van Mierlo, both 11 years old, are two of five swimmers from the club that qualified for the provincials. The other three are Emma Bohri, Malcolm Macleod and Matthew Macleod.

Hanvold said the training in the weeks leading up to the provincials has been a lot harder, but in the days before they leave it’s not as difficult.

“Soon we’re going to start tapering,” she said, explaining they’ll be working more on technique rather than speed. “By tapering, we’ll have all that energy.”

The swimmers have been training six days a week at 6:30 a.m., but the early practices don’t phase them.

“Getting in the pool wakes me up,” Ross-Van Mierlo said.

Both swimmers are jacks-of-all-trades when it comes to competitive swimming, so they compete in a variety of strokes.

“I don’t really have a best stroke,” Ross-Van Mierlo said, who will be swimming in eight events at provincials – the maximum one competitor is allowed to enter (“I’m going to get my money’s worth,” she joked.)

Hanvold will be competing in six events, and thinks her best results may come from the 100 or 200 metre fly. Ross-Van Mierlo believes her fastest times will be in the 400 or 800 metre freestyle.

Their goal for the provincials is to shave off those important seconds from each race and be bumped up to AAA competition, but there are a lot of swimmers to compete against.

Hanvold estimated that there are 50 to 70 swimmers competing in each race.

If the swimmers qualify for the AAA provincials through the AA provincials, they will compete in Victoria from March 3 to 6. So far, two Kootenay swimmers have already qualified – Jordan Andrusak and Niallan Collier.