Cohos strike for seven medals at provincial championships
In their best performance in recent history, the Canmore Coho Swim Club brought home seven medals from the Alberta Summer Swimming Association provincial championships, Friday (Aug. 17) in Edmonton.
Last year, the local club brought home just one medal from provincials, however, this year under the tutelage of coach Stephen McMurray, they blew that result out of the water.
“We had a more competitive attitude this year. The kids trained harder than they’ve trained before,” said head coach Stephen McMurray.
Riley Toohey led the medal parade, winning a gold medal in the 9- and 10-year-old boys 100 metre freestyle with a time of 1:11.68 – three seconds faster than his personal best.
He was touted as a medal threat heading into the race.
“Going in, Riley was two or three seconds ahead of his competitors. We expected him to be in the top three, but it’s not the results, it’s the time we were impressed with,” McMurray said.
He also won silver in the 50m metre freestyle and bronze in the 25m backstroke.
Alba Clevenger won silver medals in the girls 15- to 17-year-old 400 m freestyle (5:11.66) and 800 m freestyle (10:43.99).
“Alba had two amazing swims. She took four seconds off of her time in the 400 metre. We did a lot of pace work to get her going in the middle of the race,” McMurray said.
John Dreaver had what McMurray called the “swim of the weekend” in the boys 15- to 17-year-old 100 m, breaststroke, where he won silver with a time of 1:15:58.
All year he’s been chasing the 1:15 mark.
“At the beginning of the season he wanted to make the 1:15 mark. We got him to a low 1:17, but at the provincials, everything came together,” McMurray said.
Most of the athletes had exceptional times at the provincial meet, peaking at just the right time.
“We do a gradual build through the season and really push it at the three quarter mark,” McMurray said. “It’s a 16-week season, so we do four four-week sessions with a big taper at the end.”
The head coach said he believes all of the swimmers can still go faster.
“Everyone can always be faster. When Michael Phelps was asked what he’d like to improve after the 2004 Olympics, he said walls, even though he had the fastest walls. He came back to win eight medals. For next year, getting the numbers up for provincials will be key,” McMurray said.
The team also won silver medals in the 200 m medley relay, with Pearce Eshenko, Dreaver, McMurray and Ben Bronsch finishing with a time of 2:02.52. The same team also grabbed silver in the 200 m freestyle relay.
The meet wrapped up the season for the team and now coach McMurray, after one season with the club, is off to coach in Vancouver.
“I thought it was a great season,” McMurray said. “The other coaches, Ben and Alex Pasemko, did a great job – without them, there wouldn’t be a team. Also, Don Tremblay helped with technical coaching knowledge.”
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