THUNDER BAY -- One hundred and sixty-four athletes from eight Northwestern Ontario Swim Clubs descended on the Canada Games Complex this past weekend to compete at the 2019 NWO Long Course Swim Championships.
The Thunderbolts Swim Club dominated the event and easily claimed the Championship banner with 3730.5 points, the Northwest Narwhals placed second with 1713 followed by the Dryden Dolphins with 234 points.
“It was the first time I saw the entire region come together and put on a show like this. I am proud of everyone especially all the Thunderbolt athletes,” said Tommaso Panizza, Thunderbolt head coach.
“Our swimmers were awesome this weekend,” said Panizza, “everyone swam amazing, from our youngest development swimmers to our senior National qualifiers.”
Thunderbolt athletes claimed an amazing eight of 10 possible high point awards. The high point trophies are awarded to athletes in each age group who accumulate the most individual points. Sierra Bourgeois won the eight and under girl’s category, Matthew Foulds 10 and under boys, Kaitlyn Luu 11 and 12 girls, Luke Foulds 11 and 12 boys, Jamie Puhalski 13 and 14 girls, Sam Chisholm 13 and 14 boys, Emily Murphy 15 and over girls and Jett Dobson 15 and over boys.
Kaitlyn Luu, aged 11 and Luke Foulds aged 12 led the pack with nine golds each and their respective high point trophies.
“I am really proud of my accomplishments this weekend,” said an exuberant Kaitlyn Luu, “and what I am most proud of is that several of my swims were ranked in the top five in Canada. I am also super happy about winning nine gold medals and the high point trophy. But the best part was swimming with my friends and teammates and watching them succeed as well,” added Luu.
“I had some tough races this weekend,” said Luke Foulds. “I am happiest with my 400 metre and 1500 metre freestyle. This was only the second time I swam the 1,500 freestyle. I took 12 seconds off my best time for my 1500 metre and almost qualified for the Eastern Swim Championships. I know for a fact that I could not have done this without my coach and teammates who cheered me on and push me every day in the pool,” added Foulds.
“These athletes really shone this weekend,” an excited head coach stated. “Our swimmers really performed well with lots of personal best times and a few Thunderbolt club records were set”
Thirty-one Thunderbolt swimmers harvested gold at the Canada Games Complex: Kaitlyn Luu (9), Luke Foulds (9), Jamie Puhalski (8), Matthew Foulds (8), Sam Chisholm(7), Molly Hunt (5), Cameron Johnsen (5), Sierra Bourgeois (5), Lindy Jackson (5), Emily Murphy (4), Lindsay Puhalski (4), Isabel Harri (4), Brock Balabuk (3), Tye Dobson (3), Jett Dobson (3), Luca Talarico (3), Nikolas Black (3), Mackenzie Thompson (3), Sawyer Puumala (3), Hannah Johnsen (2), Emma Adamson (2), Max Chisholm (2), Zoe Hunt (2), Amy Knott (1), Maryam Anvar (1) Reid Thompson (1) Evan Gustafson (1), Rudy Balabuk (1), Maggie Chisholm (1), Abbi Brown (1) and Jillian Thompson (1)
“The Thunderbolts Swim Club continues to be leaders in the region and I am proud to be a part of this tradition,” added Panizza.
“I, on behave of the Thunderbolts Swim Club, would like to thank all the athletes, coaches and especially our great volunteers who made this meet successful,” added Alisdair Brown, president of the Thunderbolt Swim Club, “we look forward to seeing everyone at the First General Gran Paris Swim Meet in May.”