Monday, February 28, 2011

SC Season Wrap Up

A pretty good finish to the 2011 SC Provincial Championships in Ottawa, ON. Sunday started with an okay 100BR from Aaron Brautigam, but a new club record from Kyle Haas in the same event. John Nucomb’s old club record of 1:10.94 had been replaced with Kyle’s new time of 1:10.36 (which also got him 5th seed into finals). An equal to PB for Mitchell Krafczek in 200BK (he finished 9th overall). Kyle dragged through the event but was still able to wrangle 3rd seed into finals that night (2:12.13). Trevor Burwell’s 800 was about 8 seconds away from his previous best and club record, while Elizabeth Skuriat removed 2 seconds from her’s (new club record of 4:39.26). She finished 34th.

Bjoern-Ole Schrader began the afternoon for the 13 and unders. His 200BK was about .5 seconds better than his previous best. He finished 13th. Nolan Haas finished his weekend with a 10 second PB in 100BR (1:22.35, and less than 1 second off of the club record). He finished 12th overall. Britney Dortona had a 1.5second PB in her 400FR, finishing a great weekend with a 14th place finish. Keri-Lyn Copeland was off of her best and finished 17th.

The evening started well. Kyle was in 2 finals and stood to possibly medal in both. 100BR was going to be a tough field (especially in an off event) and it would be the first head to head match up between Kyle and his adversary, Daniel Kuiak of Milton (by way of another team). There was only going to be about 15min between 100BR and 200BK so it was going to be a very tough performance. It was strategy time.

Obviously I am not going to detail our strategy for that duo of races, but I will describe the sequence of events that ended with a fist pump and a hard high five.
• 100BR was a tough field. Kyle was out under current SC club record in 50BR (32.20, unofficial record by almost a full second) and was physically exhausted in his arms by the end. Kyle finished in 5th place with a new club record of 1:08.14.
• He was tired and I could tell that 200BK was not on his list of things that he wanted to do next, but he also knew that he needed a good time in the event going forward. Quick warm down, followed by a refresher on key strategic points, quick pep talk and back behind the blocks to face off against his rivals.
• The 200 started well. Kyle in lane 3, Brandon Bronson from OSHAC in lane 4 (#1 seed) and Daniel Kuiak of MMST in lane 5 (#2 seed). Daniel and Kyle lead the first 50 together; Daniel had a slight lead which built on the entire field up to about 135m. Kyle’s 3rd 50 was what we expected, but I did not expect what was coming next. With Daniel leading by about a second at the 150 wall, Kyle burst off of the 150 wall, tightened his core and sped up his stroke rate, quickly gaining on Daniel (remember that Daniel was 2 lanes over and over a second ahead, he did not see Kyle coming). At the 175 wall, both turn at the same time, Kyle gets off the wall first, Daniel sees and there is very little he can do, as Kyle has a very strong underwater kick off the wall. With a little under 20m left, Kyle keeps steady, strokes hard and finishes in first. 2:06.34, new club record and his 4th gold medal of the weekend.

This event hammered his and our presence home for the weekend. We beat Milton at Halton Cup. We had already beaten Milton on the weekend at Provincials and now he had risen from the ashes to beat them head to head… because twice is never enough. HHBF finished in 28th place which is very good considering that we were missing Karl Massey and Matt Fox, both major contributors. MMST finished 37th. A grand total of 92teams were present and only 73 of them scored. There are 144 teams in Ontario.

The fact that Kyle finished out the weekend in this fashion really speaks volumes about the character that I am trying to develop in this club. I’ve said several times in the past: “Good enough is not good enough”. Had we decided that we couldn’t beat a rival who was significantly ahead of our best time in that event, or that we were not competitive enough to race the 100BR to our full capacity, we would have made a totally different statement: “Meh, whatever”. I rarely hear champions say that. Had you all seen the teams vying to beat other teams, thoughts like “meh, whatever” wouldn’t have entered your mind.

This is a good time for reflection, as the season is half way done. HHBF did some remarkable things so far this season and in the last 2.5 that I’ve been at the hull. I’m pretty impressed by that. The thing that still concerns me is the the sense of accomplishment before we actually have done anything. Sometimes when it's time to do something, a defeatist attitude seems to hold us back from being as good as we can be (this meet is really fast, I can't beat these guys). Other times we think we're working hard... until we see how hard others are working. I love that everyone is excited to be a Blue Fin. That was step 1. Step 2 is to make everyone have pride in what they’re doing and what being a Blue Fin represents.

Yes, being a regional qualifier is pretty good. Yes, being a provincial qualifier is pretty good. Yes, qualifying for anything is pretty good I guess… but are you a participant or a competitor at those meets? Our team needs more competitors.

- Competitors are fierce: they don’t skip a morning because they stayed up too late playing video games. They don’t back off because they’re afraid that something will be hard or uncomfortable.

- Competitors make decisions: they understand the relationship between risk and reward (I may not be able to play on that other team in order to be as good as I want to be in the water. I may not be able to do that thing on the weekend because it will interfere with my training). How much have you already missed? How much have your competitors missed?

- Competitors challenge others: They encourage their team mates to be better than they are. They stand in the way of their team mates and failure. That is to say: they don’t let their team mates fail… not even in practices.

- Competitors take responsibility: They know how much their team mates count of them and take that responsibility seriously.

- Competitors are interested: Rarely are they not watching what’s going on in the pool or with their team mates when they are around them.

- Competitors are proud of what they represent: There is no shame in being proud of what you do. There is no shame in working hard. There is no shame in our club.

I think it is time to remember how far we have come and what we have done. March is a rough time of year when you may be questioning your own motivation or wondering where you go from here. This is my challenge to you:

BECOME A COMPETITOR. You can make a difference in the atmosphere in the club and the athletes around you. Being quiet and waiting for things to happen is not a competitive attitude.
BE A BLUE FIN. Its not just a thing you do for a few hours/week: There is pride in wearing the Fin. Its who you are.
LIVE IT. Don’t just swim, be a swimmer.

One by One the 27 teams ahead of us will start taking note of what HHBF is capable of. I watched 8 teams in the top 20 overachieve this weekend, simply because they believed that they were good. Those teams are full of competitors. We’d better start stocking up on competitors too.

Love this video! Perhaps enough to start buying Nike products again...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Almost there

Another successful HHBF day!

Congrats, everyone on winning the Halton Cup! A huge statement by our club and thank you to everyone involved! Great work, you've all made me very proud. We still need to win the second session in June but its obtainable, especially with the lead you racked up today. Way to go bluefins!

Today in Ottawa was more of the same. Some great races and some less than spectacular ones.

Mitchell and Trevor were less than a second away from their best 100fr times. Kyle shattered Trevor Burwell's 3 week only club record in 100fr by 1.39 seconds and was going into finals first with a time of 53.70.

The 400fr races were a little weaker than I would have expected. Aaron Brautigam was about .4 seconds from his best 200im.

Elizabeth Skuriat was heroic in her 800 bettering her best time and club record by more than a second, but also placing top 25 in a bonus event. New club record of 9:31.80.

This afternoon also saw Bjoern-ole Schrader better his own club record in 200fly by 2 seconds and finish 10th. New club record of 2:40.03. His 200im was right on top of his best. It was a great day for him!

Nolan Haas just missed a second medal in 100fr clocking 1:01.48. Best time by 3.5 seconds, and good for 4th place. Very solid.

Keri-lyn Copeland was a little off in her 100fr and finished 10th. Britney Dortona was right on her pb of 1:09 in 100fr. Both are pretty focused on 400fr tomorrow. Expect to hear good things about that race tomorrow.

Kyle Haas entered finals with a mission: win 100fr! We were spured on by some negative talk from a rival Coach and decided that this one was his. Kyle led at the 50 wall with a split of 25.06 and turned uncontested. He finished 1st by 0.70 seconds with a final time and new club record of 52.38. GREAT race for Kyle and fantastic representation from HHBF. Thank you to those of you who were able to come back to watch. Your support was appreciated. Remember: no one stands on the podium alone!

1 more day and tomorrow is going to be a long one for me. I'll do my best to update, but it'll be tough. Hopefully I'll have time.

Congrats again, see you soon!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Provinicals Day 2

Pretty good follow up to day 1. 2 medals, 2 club records and 4 top 8 finishes.

Kyle's rival was dqed in 100bk which left the door open for his second gold medal of the weekend. Kyle won in 58.02, a new club record and back on track in bk speed. Mitchell krafczek's 100bk started out great but finished out a little bit rough and he was just off of his best. He finished 13th of 23.

200br was not a great showing for us, sadly so I'll skip over that one.

Britney Dortona started the afternoon by being right on top of her best and finishing 15th. Keri-Lyn followed that up with a 7th place finish and pb (29.25).

Nolan fought and raced to a bronze medal in his first ever provincials AND a thrilling race! Nolan's time was 27.94 which is just shy of the club record, but it was an incredible race when you see that he was much smaller than the 2 who beat him, which means that he actually had to swim faster! Well done! Update: video of Nolan's medal presentation can be found here:

Keri-Lyn Copeland then had one of the toughest races of the meet in 200fr. She lead out in 30 seconds, then hit 105.02 at the 100 mark, right on target. She turned 1st at the 150 wall and tried to hang on for dear life to the finish, but was out touched to 4th place. A heart breaking finish to a great race, but I wouldn't be any prouder if she medaled. She owned that race and made the top seeds challenge her for it. I loved that race so much and keri-lyn's spirit in it. She finished 4th with a new club record of 2:15.24, breaking Tasha Truscott, old club record of 2:16.15. I'm very proud of her!

All in all a great day 2. Lots more great races today tomorrow and sunday. Stay tuned.

Good luck at Halton Cup tomorrow, everyone. We're all counting on you and will be keeping tabs on results.


Thursday, February 24, 2011


Wow what a day. 4 club records, a gold medal and numerous top 8 finishes. Kyle Haas repeats as short course 50fr provincial champion (24.15). Also killed the 4 week old club record in 200fr (1:56.23) and finished 5th. Both were new club records.

Nolan Haas was 7th in 100bk (1:11.12) and 5th in 100fly (1:10.05 - new club record). Some good competition between Bjoern and Nolan in these events. Nice to have 2 of the fastest in the province on our side. 

Keri-lyn Copeland gave the field a 2 second head start in 100bk and still equaled her best time. In actuality she missed the start, but it wasn't the only official error today. She made up for it in the 800 where she beat her best time by about 10 seconds and set a new club record of 9:55.44 (8th place).

Britney Dortona had an OUTSTANDING first race at provincials! I love the fact that she is a racing machine and shows no emotion; no excitement, no nerves, just calm. Love it! She stuck it to the other 11 year old girls and took about 23 seconds off of her 800 (10:38.24) and finished up in 9th place. Excellent first race, especially since she was seeded second last. Remember her name because she is going to be good. 

Elizabeth had a best time in her 100bk and was around 3 seconds slower than she was last weekend at Easterns in the mile where she finished 11th (this was her 4th 1500 in 6 weeks, they can't all be brilliant). 

Aaron finished 50fr .3 away from his best. I'm pretty excited to see his 200br tomorrow. 

Mitchell arrived tonight and looked great in the water. I'm excited to see him race tomorrow. 

All in all a GREAT representation by our club on day 1. Let's not forget that this is a representation of you and that no one stands alone on a podium: you are all a part of this. Keep tuned for updates throughout the weekend. Live results are available at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thought for tonight

This is in a book I just finished reading. I found it quite poignant.

When I was a child, trees were trees, rivers were rivers and mountains were mountains.

When I grew up, trees were no longer trees, rivers were no longer rivers and mountains were no longer mountains.

Now, as an adult, trees are once again trees, rivers are rivers and mountains are mountains once again.

~ Zen poem, author unknown

Monday, February 21, 2011

Championship Season: going pretty well

A proud moment for HHBF:

After a rough week and not knowing what to expect on Sunday night, I was releived and very happy to see Kyle arrive for warmup ready to race. I, admitadly, wasn't fully sure what to expect at race time so I didn't record it: Mostly because I wanted to fully emerse myself in the moment. Kyle looked better than I had ever seen him before on the first 25 (split 13.11) and came off the wall without missing a beat. The finish was so fast and tight that I wasn't sure if he was going to steal the silver or finish 6th. Kyle was out-touched for the silver medal by 1 hundreth of a second, but still a very fast race (27.16) and I'll take a National Championship medal any day of the week. In hindsite, I wish I would have recorded the race. It really was great! Before sending him down to the blocks, prior to his race, the message was simple: "No one can make this meaningful for you or give you a reason. Find yourself and do it".

I was pretty happy watching the results from Central Region Team Champs in Etobicoke. I saw a lot of great results and, being the smallest of the medium teams, I think that we did quite well. As with Central Region Championships, We have a lot of athletes over qualified for this meet, so it is a much greater opportunity to swim fast than it is to win a championship. Well done by all involved! I know that this is a tough, confusing and long meet (especially for parents) but thanks for your patience through it. It builds great swimmers going forward.

The Halton Cup is this Saturday. Time for some redemption. Last year's Halton Cup left a sour taste in my mouth because I know that we are a better team. Being beat really stuck in my craw. This year, My message is simple: Be ready and be excited to RACE FAST. Best times will come when people stop focusing on time for a min and just race the field. It sounds silly, but sometimes its easy to forget that. JUST RACE!

I leave with 9 athletes to Ottawa this week for Provincials. The contest lasts from Thursday-Sunday and we stand to do well... possibly the best SC provincials team ever to go. Check the blog and my facebook page for daily (hopefuly) updates and real time results will be available @ These athletes are representing YOU at this meet, lets give them our full support.
Karl Massey and Matt Fox: We will miss you both; you both are a HUGE part of this team and we wont let you down.

When I return, I will be home for less than 48hours, then flying out to Indianapolis with some of the best athletes and coaches from Ontario. Check out the list: I'll make sure to take lots of video and pictures to keep you all posted.

See you soon.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Still @ Easterns

Yesterday was a rough day for me (personally) so I didn't post, sorry. Kyle was solo in the morning for his 100BK, where he unfortunately missed the finish and was 59.38. Still good enough to make it into finals 5th. 50FR was decent as well, 2nd fastest time ever and less than 3 tenths off of his best. He missed finals and ended up in 13th place. In finals, Kyle had a tough time finishing up the 100BK and finished in 7th @ 59.05, a little off of his best time.

Today, Elizabeth was within her best time for 100FR and a little off in 400FR (44th and 42nd) and Kyle's 200BK was pretty rough. He finished @ 17th with a time of 2:11.23. Kyle will return tomorrow night for finals of 50BK.

Overall things are not going bad. Its tough for these 2 to have very little team support and have to go it alone, but I applaud them for the experience that they're gaining from it. I'm pleased that HHBF has representation at this meet again (we have 4 swimmers qualified) because we spent a long stretch with no one. I'd rather have a rough time here, than not be able to be here. It is fortunate that this championship was close enough to home to be easily added to our meet schedule. In order to grow as a team and be competitive, we need opportunities like this (especially when we don't have to travel far).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Eastern Canadian Championships Day 1

Typing this on a blackberry sucks so I'll keep this pretty short. Today went very well. Elizabeth's 1500 was first. She shocked us with a major pb of 3 seconds and a new club record. About 6.5 seconds faster than @ central regions, a National Age Group Championship qualification (HHBF now sitting at 7 qualifiers for that meet, most ever, and more to come) and a new club record of 18:16.12. She was 24th overall. I am very proud of this accomplishment, its not easy to come back from an injury, but Elizabeth makes it look easy. She is a great role model for the rest of the club!

Kyle Haas broke his own club record in 50bk (27.59) and will enter finals on sunday night in 5th place. Hopefully he can sneak in for a podium finish.

I was very happy with the start of this meet. All indications point to us having a great weekend. Check in for updates and check my earlier post (regarding br turns) for the web address of the live finals video feed.

As soon as I can figure out how to add video to this entry from my backberry, I will put up kyle's race (sorry, Elizabeth, 1500 is too long to upload). For now you can check my youtube channel for it.

For now, go HHBF!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Thoughts

I worked with 5 different groups this morning, it was awesome!

The morning started @ 5:50am with the Platinum & Regional Development practices where we were running a time trial for some athletes who needed times for provincials. Sadly, the trial yielded no new provincial qualifiers, but did allow 1 athlete to swim a new event at provincials and a couple of new best times. The practice then changed focus to body and head position during breathing. Overall, it was a great 2 hours; especially since Platinum spent most of last night working on basic skills.

Next I spent 90min with the Gold group. I have to say that the Gold group is AWESOME! I was very impressed with their knowledge of skills and strokes. Butterfly in that group is really coming along and quite a few swimmers look great technically. We took the opportunity of having the whole pool to work on turns, pushoffs and underwater work. It was the most fun I had all morning. Chris is doing a GREAT job with that group; I was really impressed by the quality of swimming in that group.

The Elite group arrived at 9:30 (from the gym) for some speed work. Short 900 warmup, then some dive fast 25s, 10m fast turn work and easy swimming. Bronze took some time out of their practice to watch the Elite group sprint at top speed. I think the Elite swimmers really enjoyed that attention and I think that the Bronze group took something away from it. It was fun. After the Elite group was done sprinting and was warming down, I worked with the Bronze group on dives. There are a couple of very strong new comers to that group. I am pretty excited to see them race.


I had to meet with a couple of coaches in Guelph last night, so we chose to meet at U of G to watch some of the OUA Championships (University Swimming Provincials) which have become SUPER fast! I'm pretty excited to see that and plan on giving the meet info out sooner so that people can watch live. In case you're interested, there is a live webcast available: Finals start @ 6pm. Check it out, it will be fast... but its not the same as being there.

Incidentally, I caught video of mens 200BK and the mens 4x100 medley relay. Both were unbelievable races! I have had lots of questions about how fast Ontario swimming is right now... watch and see. For anyone who thinks that they'll be able to walk onto a University team without training hard as a club swimmer... I've got bad news for you...

Again, if you're planning on joining a Canadian University and want to see where you would stack up, live results from the OUA Championships can be found here:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Championship Season

So far, so good. HHBF has logged 11 provincial qualifiers this season (most in HHBF history) and will be sending 9 athletes (Matt Fox - injured and Karl Massey - Personal). A couple of platinum girls on the bubble and could obtain their standards this weekend at a time trial. Stay tuned.

I feel that Central Regions went okay. We have had better meets in the past, and we have had worse meets. I was particularly pleased that we had so many Blue Fins qualified to go and how many of those qualifiers took the opportunity to swim really well.

Central Region Team Champs swimmers are going to be in a different session than expected because of all of the scratches. We are now a medium sized team, and I must say, I am surprised that more people are not taking the opportunity to swim at a good pool in a championship setting. I have heard that the Family Day weekend created plans that could not be broken... but I believe this was on the schedule very early in the season... In any event, HHBF will vie for one of the top spots in the Medium Team division. It should be a great weekend.

Eastern Canadian Championships (the same weekend) has 4 HHBF qualifiers and 2 will represent HHBF in London (Kyle Haas and Elizabeth Skuriat). This is the most people that we have ever had qualify and the most that we have ever had go. With any luck, Kyle will end up on the podium.

The Halton Cup should be an interesting matchup against MMST. Last season we beat them at Regionals, Provincials, Nationals, Division 2, and we lost to them because not enough people would support this meet. I'm glad that we have very strong support from HHBF swimmers and families this season and we will hopefully come out on top of this dual meet.

Go Blue Fins!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blue Fins on BT

Bronte & Lisa McMaster & Paige Olmstead showed up on Breakfest Television yesterday morning (and took the opportunity to promote HHBF). Check out the video: sadly I cannot figure out how to post only that part. Start the viewer and fast forward to the 32min mark (warning, they put the same commercial on 2 or 3 times in a row before you can view the video). Check out the video though, I'm glad to see our team mates on TV (and their warped perception of what we looked like in the 80's) and that they took the opportunity to make it about our team. Thanks, girls!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Central Regions Sunday (Also Super Bowl Sunday)

Karl Massey with a solid start to today with a 5 second PB in 200FR. 2:05.67 was his time and he placed in 13th. Trevor would PB as well and set himself up for a first place entry into finals tonight. Amongst other highlights were:

- Sam Ceci's 1:12.22 in 200FLY (PB by almost 2 seconds). Her light touch showed up as a 1:16 and I had fun making her believe that she actually went 1:16.
- Aaron Brautigam's first time under 27 in 50FR (26.68)
- Kelly Smith placed 22nd in 50FR (31.15) and showed some great surface speed.
- Elizabeth Skuriat's 1500 qualified her for Provincials (return after a painful injury) and Eastern Canadian Championships. Her time of 18:22.62 was only a few seconds off of her all time best. A very gutsy swim.
- Britney Dortona JUST missing provincial cut in 200FR, but making it in 50FR and winning the bronze medal in that event.
- Quinn Jaggard's blisteringly fast 29.20 50FR (21st place overall)
- Nolan Haas placing top 8 in 200FR and dropping 5 and a half seconds in the process.
- Veronica Fong and Brooklyn Shelley facing off head to head in 100BR was exciting. Both swam PBs. Veronica (1:29.91) and Brooklyn (1:30.07) were separated by less than 2 tenths of a second. A great match up and a fun race to watch.
- Colleen Jarv PB in 50FR AND in 200FR (top 20 in both).
- Aysia Leckie PB in 200BK.
- Michael Jans, fresh off of injury/sickness rips 4 seconds from his best 200BK time. A huge victory for him and he showed a lot of heart in the process. Great to have this guy back!
- Clancy Harris' unbelievable walls in her 200BK which allowed for a major PB and a 13th place finish.
- Aurora Zuraw JUST missing provincial cut in 50FR (30.22, cut is 30.08).
- Trevor Burwell winning the Silver in 200FR and becoming the first ever Blue Fin under 2min in 200FR. A very strong swim and (although not technically perfect), still very good in the finish.

**UPDATE: I forgot to mention that Both Sam Ceci and Trevor Burwell broke club records in the races mentioned above. Congrats to you both!

I am very proud of all of our Blue Fins this weekend. Some were triumphant and did what they had set out to do, while some left short of that goal. My hope is that everyone took something valuable away from the experience... after all, the season is only half over and there is another regional championships 4 months down the road.

BTW, great game tonight between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although the Green Bay proved to be the winners, the loser of the evening was clearly Axle Rose, who had his song butchered by the Black Eyed Peas (who, for some inexplicable reason, replaced Fergie with E.T., or so it appeared).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Central Regions Saturday

So far so good...

HHBF has been well represented so far at the Regional Championships. This is always a strange meet to use as a measurement fo your club vs other clubs simply because you can over qualify for it... that means that most of the swimmers that finaled or medaled last season are over qualified either in their best events or overall for the meet (which is not bad at all). The only problem is that we don't get the points in those events and other club swimmers who weren't swimming so fast earlier in the season can still swim and get those points. It is, however, a great statement that we are represented by the largest team ever, but also some very fast swimmers.

The weekend officially started on Thursday night with the 800s. Elizabeth Skuriat was first up and came within 1 second of her personal best and JUST missed the provincial qualifying time by 0.72 seconds. Elizabeth finished in 6th place This was followed up fairly shortly after by 2 remarkable best times from Clancy Harris (first time under 11min) and Veronica Fong who finished 16th and 17th respectably. Britney Dortona finished up the night with a 52 second PB and her first provincial standard. She finished in 4th.

Friday night marked 200IM for 13 and overs and 400FR. Aaron Brautigam had a best time with 2:25.90 but Karl and Trevor were slightly off. Neither of the 3 finished in the top 20. 400FR was great. Nolan Haas dropped 14 seconds from his best for a time of 5:08.39 which placed him 7th. Britney Dortona won gold in 400FR with another provincial standard of 5:16.82 and Colleen Jarv finished 8th with a 12second PB, 5:32.18 (I actually predicted this time in warmup, just to prove to Colleen how awesome I am). Clancy Harris had another personal best of 5:25.70 and finished 14th.

Today was also a pretty solid day. Trevor was going into finals 2nd in 100FR with a club record in the morning of 55.15 and Karl Massey made it into 200BR (of all events) with a 3 second best time. Aaron had a best time in 100FR and a very solid 400IM (for which he placed 15th), Sam Ceci dropped 2 seconds in 100FR for a 1:04.86. Elizabeth finished with a 1:02.35 in 22nd place. She also had a personal best in 100BK with 1:10.73 which placed her 14th.

A very good afternoon as well. Emma Fender finished 8th in 200IM with a best time of 2:46.60. Britney Dortona came second in 100FR with a time of 1:09.53. She also finished 9th in 100BK where she had a significant best time of 4 seconds. Aurora Zuraw shed some time with a powerful 100FR as well (1:08.47) and a 1:19.56 in 100BK. Clandy Harris and Veronica Fong also had personal bests and finished in the top half of the 100FR. Clancy Harris' 100BK was great: 1:17.93 (PB of over 3 seconds) and finished in 10th place. Our girls 200FR relays finished 5th and 14th and were quite competitive throughout. Very solid 50s from each individual on each team and we were quite proud. Nolan Haas finished 4th in 200IM with a HUGE PB (2:42.85) and 2nd in 100BK with his 4th provincial standard of 1:13.12. He also had a significant PB in 200BR. Our guys relay finished 15th and beat some pretty significant teams. Quinn Jaggard also lead out with a best 50FR time of 30.03. A special thank you to Eric Siegfriedt, Quinn Jaggard, Michael Jans and Brooklyn Shelley for coming down today to make great relays.

Finals went well. Trevor Burwell won the 100FR with a new club record of 54.99. This time was almost a second faster than Trevor's previous best. It was a well fought race for Trevor, who was very focused and aggresive with the swim. Karl also moved up in the rankings, from 7th entry seed to a 4th place finish. Karl's time at the end of the race was 2:41.76, almost 4 seconds off of his previous best(2.45.62).

I am very proud of what HHBF has shown so far and we have a day left. Lots more great races and lots more cheering. Some still have their best events to come. Currently, HHBF is sitting in 20th place out of the 30 teams that have scored. There are currently 44 teams in the Central Region.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Time for me to become very unpopular...

Division 1 Ontario Team Championships

Although we’re just entering Short Course championship season, this is about the time we need to start thinking about Division 1 Ontario Team Championships. It is never easy to select a small group of representatives from such a large and deep group of team contributors and not everyone that we want with us can possibly be picked. As you can see from the chart above, we are up against some of the biggest teams in Ontario. For those of you who do not know how this selection process will work, here is in inside glimpse:

- All Division 1 teams are permitted to bring 40 athletes in total. Each swimmer can swim a maximum of 5 individual events + relays.

- Points are scored by individuals placing in the top 8 and for relays placing in the top 8. Individual points – 9pts for 1st, 7pts for 2nd, 6pts for 3rd, 5pts for 4th, 4pts for 5th, 3pts for 6th, 2pts for 7th and 1pt for 8th. Relay points are doubled (for example: 18pts for 1st, 14pts for 2nd, etc). If we do not score in the top 8, we get 0.

- Swimmers MUST swim in their proper age category (obviously), but we can use a younger athlete for an older age class relay, provided that 2 of the relay participants are of the proper age (for example: we can use a 13 year old to swim on a 15&Over aged relay, but at least 2 of the swimmers on that relay must be 15 or older). There are several cases where this will likely happen to make the most competitive relays possible.

- We are only allowed to enter a maximum 1 relay per age category, regardless of how many people we have in that age category.

- There is no minimum or maximum amount of swimmers that we must take in any age category. The team is primarily picked based on the athletes that have the highest probability to score for HHBF (either in relays or individual events).

- To ensure we have the best possible relays, the first events and times looked at when selecting are the 50s (FLY, BK, BR, FR). We might have 4 people that are around the same time for 50BK. The person that will likely be chosen in that case is the person with the best odds of scoring in an individual event. In the end, we may even opt to swim someone up from a lower age category for a relay and free up more space on the team.

- We also take other factors into consideration when choosing the roster. For example, swimmers with high attendance (both meet and practice), swimmers that are punctual (a BIG factor when traveling such a far distance), swimmers that are reliable (have they performed consistently well at meets), swimmers that we know will show up for finals and cheer their hearts out (even if they’re not swimming) and swimmers with great attitudes (it’s a LONG weekend! Negative attitudes make it intolerable) will also be considered when filling the roster.

- The age groups are broken up as follows for both Girls and Boys: 10&Under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17&Over. Relays are the same except that there is a 15&Over category. Since the age categories span 2 years and there is quite a bit of growth that happens in the 11-12, 13-14 and 15-16 categories, people that made the team last year may not make it this year. This may seem unfair to some, but if an athlete has just aged up into a new age category and they’re at the bottom end of it (for example: just turned 13, so they’re the youngest swimmer in the 13-14 age category) it becomes difficult to contribute, and thus may not make the team (even if they were pretty good in their former age category). Sorry in advance, but that’s the reality of the rules on this meet.

- Traditionally, the weakest age categories are 10& under boys and 11-12 boys. The strongest (and hardest to score in) are 10 & under girls and 11-12 girls. Freestyle is often the deepest event and the hardest to score in, especially if you’re changing age. Breaststroke is typically the least deep.

- This is a comment on alternates right out of the meet package:
In the event that one (1) or more of a team's entered swimmers cannot attend the meet, the coach may designate substitutes from any age group or gender for a full complement of swimmers.
Must be designated immediately at or prior to arrival.
Will not be accepted after the start of the meet.
Will not be seeded according to entry times.
Will be placed into empty lanes when possible.
Since the meet is so far away and substitutes hardly ever get to swim, I figure we’ll handle the alternates in a different fashion. We will not name 2 alternates right off the bat; that often makes no sense. For example, if a 10 year old boy bails on the team, I would like to replace him with another 10 year old boy to round out the relay, but if I name a 10 year old boy as an alternate and a 14 year old boy gets hurt and cannot travel, that 10 year old boy can’t help us on the 13-14 relay. Therefore, I will make decisions in February who to fill declined spots with based on the age and gender of the declining athlete. This will give alternates plenty of time to make travel arrangements and make for the most competitive team possible. We will not travel with alternates.

Here is some indication of how fast last season’s Division 1 meet was: (click on the age category on the left hand side of the screen and then check the events). The 8th place time for girls 10&Under 50FR last season was 34.45. The winning time was 30.01 seconds. Welcome to the big leagues folks! Believe me when I say that difficult decisions need to be made just to stay in this division! Our primary job as coaches and roster selectors is to keep us in this division, not to spare individual feelings (it is impossible to include everyone). We obviously want the meet to be a fun experience for all involved and come back having achieved something that HHBF as a whole will be very proud of. We have to score points in order to survive.

We plan to announce the team in mid February.