One local swimmer has been tearing up the water on the coast. Nick Welychko, from Castlegar, is in his first year at Langley’s Trinity Western University (TWU) and is making a big splash with the school’s swimming team.
“It’s going good so far,” he said. “It’s a bit of a change with the amount of practices and training. It’s a lot more intense than what I’m used to but I like it.”
Welychko said the squad practices around 16 hours per week. Three times a week, starting before class at 5:30 a.m. and a few hours after from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Trinity Western competes in several swim meets throughout the year.
“We had our first meet in October and had one two weeks ago in Richmond,” he said.
As a new swimmer at the school, Welychko is still adapting to the winter meets.
“It’s kind of a learning curve to see what the different type of competition is like and the different styles,” he said. “In winter club you have a lot longer races.”
Welychko specializes in the 200 meter individual medley, which is two lengths each of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle.
So far this season he has competed well in the winter meets.
At a meet on Dec. 6 in Richmond, Welychko placed first in the 100M Breaststroke with a time of 1:07:37 and second in the 200M IM with a time of 2:11:38. He also finished third in both the 200M Backstroke and 200M Freestyle.
“The kids swam some very competitive races with several final swims and best times and TWU records,” said Spartans’ coach Brian Metcalfe. “It is great to see Trinity Western swimmers winning events and making further inroads into swimming in B.C. and Canada.”
Welychko graduated from Stanley Humphies Secondary in 2010 and spent a year at Selkirk College in Castlegar.
He swims in the summer with the local Aquanauts swim club.
Welycko is looking at majoring in kinesiology and eventually working in sports medicine.
In the meantime, he is training hard and hoping to qualify to CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sports) Nationals, which features all the top swimmers from different universities throughout the country.
“That’s what I’m trying to go for,” said Welychko. “I’m not quite there but I hope to be by the beginning of February.”
Welychko has qualified for the Canadian Western Championships in Winnipeg in February, where he will have his last chance to qualify for nationals.
Welychko’s times have been much faster since he began training at Trinity Western but he still has room for improvement if he hopes to get to nationals.
Welychko is really enjoying the mix of school and swimming, despite the early mornings.
“At first it was tough to wake myself up to get to swimming at 5:30 a.m. and then have to go to classes and then go back to swimming, but once I got in that groove it got easier and easier,” he said. “I just want to see how much faster I can get and how far I can go.”