THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – The development and strength of swimming across the Northwest continue to grow. Swimming has a rich history in the region spanning almost 50 years. There are more clubs with more swimmers stretching from Marathon to Kenora, and from Thunder Bay to Red Lake. There is a place, from recreational to elite, for everyone to swim in Northwestern Ontario
“The number of clubs and swimmers has increased over the years,” said Janet Hyslop, Regional Swim Director and Kenora Head Coach. “It is a very exciting time for swimming in Northwestern Ontario,” she added.
The pride and camaraderie between clubs and swimmers in the region are strong and was evident this past weekend where swimmers descended on Kenora for their Invitational Swim Meet. 32 Thunderbolt swimmers along with coaches Tommaso Panizza, Rebecca Snyder and Casey Leslie joined 160 swimmers from 7 clubs at the swim meet.
“Young swimmers in this region need more events like this to gather and race,” says Thunderbolt head coach Tommaso Panizza.
“It is critical that there is a strong connection between clubs to provide opportunities for developmental swimmers to acquire and explore their potential,” added Panizza.
“It is important for regional development to build our athletes from the region up. We need to collaborate with our great resources and expertise in the region. As a region, we need to develop a meet schedule and regional events that support our fundamental athletes and push them towards long term success. With strong club relationships between boards and coaches we can plan meets that focus on athlete needs and develop the sport in Northwestern Ontario,” said coach Hyslop.
“We had an amazing weekend for our club and the entire region,” stated coach Rebecca Keffer. “Our swimmers swam fast and we had a tremendous number of best times,” added Keffer. “It was inspiring seeing how happy the swimmers were with their performances and best times. Being a part of swimming in this region is very exciting,” added coach Casey Leslie.
One of those swimmers was Rudy Balabuck, “I am really excited about how I did. I swam a lot of best times, placed really well and had fun with my friends!”, said an excited Balabuck. “Swimming is awesome!”
Thunderbolts who competed in Kenora were: Hannah Abbink, Sydney Ball, Samatha Bergamo, Sierra Bourgeois, Madeleine Bourget, Abbi Brown, Taylor Brown, Maggie Chisholm, Abigail Gignac, Evan Gustafson, Ella Hupka, Tessa Hupka, Molly Hunt, Ryan Huvar, Hayden Nisula, Madison Nisula, Taylor Smallwood, Lindy Jackson, Marion McCready, Brock Balabuck, Rudy Balabuck, Leo Fay, Scott Fay, Matthew Foulds, Fischer Jackson, Sawyer Puumala, Dante Martino, Mason Kolsheluk, Russell Jackson, Luca Talarico, Ethan Van Weeghel and William Weston.
Swimmers are now preparing for The Grand Prix swim meet in Thunder Bay, the Festival swim meet in Toronto and Aquajet swim meet in Minneapolis later this summer.