THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – This past weekend 71 Thunderbolt swimmers ruled the Lakehead University swimming pool, placing first overall in the NWO Narwhal Massaro Construction Invitational. The invitational attracted over 150 athletes from across the Northwest region. The Thunderbolts accumulated a massive score of 7753 points and broke an impressive 22 meet records while outdistancing the second place Narwhals by over 1500 points.
“I was extremely proud seeing our ‘Bolts of all ages and levels competing well and cheering each other on while competing against the top clubs in Northwestern Ontario,” said Thunderbolt head coach Tommaso Panizza. “This region has a very promising wave of upcoming swimmers. We have a very bright future. I am excited to be here in Thunder Bay to be a part of this.”
Matthew Foulds, aged 10 had an outstanding weekend scoring 327 total points, setting 8 meet records and winning 9 gold medals. “I wasn’t expecting to set those records, I am very happy,” said Foulds. Maryam Anvar, 14, was the next highest point earner with 281 points and five gold medals. Alex Randall, 17, delivered 258 points and 5 gold medals. Sam Chisholm, 13, scored a solid 235 points, set 5 meet records and 5 gold medals. Lindsay Puhalski, 16, contributed 168 points, broke 4 records and brought home 5 gold medals.
There were a number of other meet records that fell this weekend. Brock Balabuck broke 3 meet records, Tye Dobson 1 and Sierra Bourgeois with 1.
Thunderbolt assistant coach Jon Balabuck was ecstatic with the weekend’s results, “working with the younger competitive swimmers this weekend has me excited for the next wave of aspiring athletes. It is obvious their hard work in the pool is paying off,” said Balabuck.
Many other Thunderbolts harvested gold this weekend including Brooke Hulina (4), Lindy Jackson (4), Jamie Puhalski (4), Brock Balabuck (4), Sierra Bourgeois (3), Max Chisholm (3), Rudy Balabuck (2), Tye Dobson (2), Fisher Jackson (2), Luca Talarico (1), Braydon Hrabok (1), Riley Agar (1), Zoe Aylward (1), Molly Hunt (1), and Ethan Van Weeghel (1).
“Our swimmers achieved almost 100% best times. Our swimmers really showed up to race this weekend, some swimming events they have never swum before. Our swimmers showed some real toughness and grit,” said assistant coach Casey Leslie.
Other Thunderbolt medal winners this weekend included Fenn Dobson, Leo Fay, Scott Fay, Dante Martino, Marco Martino, Connor Murphy, Sawyer Puumala, Matthew Randall, Zach Scollie, Sammy Sebesta, Reid Thompson, William Weston, Marina Anvar, Abbi Brown, Taylor Brown, Abigail Gignac, Ryah Huvar, Hannah Leveque, Addison Pradissitto, Julia Siver, and Mackenzie Thompson.
“I have been the Thunderbolt coach for just over 3 months and I am so excited about our progress. Our athletes are training hard and turning in outstanding performances,” added Panizza.
The next test for the Thunderbolt athletes is this weekend in Toronto at the North York Aquatic Club Youth Cup and in Guelph for Guelph Marlin Dash for Cash. Swimmers will be travelling to compete against athletes from across Ontario. They will be competing at the new Toronto Pam Am Sports Centre and the University of Guelph Sports Centre.