59 and fine

Matt Molloy
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Gander Lakers finish second at Deer Lake meet with 59-medal haul

Gander Lakers' Dylan Morawski, Ben MacDonald and Anna Rumbolt swept the medal haul at the Provincial Satellite West Swim Meet in Deer Lake, Jan. 28-29, earning a medal in each of the six events they competed in.

BIG SWIM — Members of the Gander Lakers that medalled at the Provincial Satellite West Swim Meet in Deer Lake include: Jacob Cole, Sarah Collins, Zachary Davidge, Carolyn Dumaresque, Jessica Dyson, Natalie Freake, Shannon Greene, Nicole Kattenbusch, Ben MacDonald, Connor McAlary, Gregory Parrott, Julia Pritchett, Nathan Quinton, Anna Rumbolt, Tiffany Small, and Aaron Woolfrey. Missing from photo, Aaron Murphy and Dylan Morawski.

The Lakers sent 26 swimmers to the meet, including five first-time competitors, and 18 of those athletes combined to win a whopping 59 medals.

The Lakers finished second of eight teams at the meet with 3,272 points.

Both Jacob Cole and Zachary Davidge earned five of six possible medals, an accomplishment Cole was more than proud of.

However, there was one achievement Cole didn't get - one he's going to work on receiving at the next meet he attends.

"I'm pretty happy with my results, but I'm a little disappointed I didn't get top-achiever," said Cole, who finished with three silver medals and two bronze. "However, it's there for next time."

Cole, like four other Lakers at the event, improved all of his times. Rookie swimmer Aaron Murphy, 13, recorded the biggest improvement, a 69.67-second improvement in the 200-metre freestyle event.

Cole said he works hard to improve his times, and it starts in his home pool at the Joseph R. Smallwood Arts and Culture Centre.

"It's something I try to do all the time," said Cole. "I work hard in practice to get the results at meets."

Rookie swimmer Jessica Dyson has the same views on practice as Cole. Dyson earned her first three swim medals at the meet in Deer Lake, and credited her coach, and her own work ethic, for her three pieces of hardware.

"I'm happy with what I was able to do because it's my first time winning swimming medals. I just started swimming this year," said Dyson, who finished with two silver medals and a bronze. "I have to credit our coach, Gord (Wheeler), because he pushes us as much as he can and helps us get as far as we can. I try to come to all the practices and work as hard as I can, and I try me best all the time."

“I was wondering, ‘when’s the gun going to go off? When am I going to go? Am I going to get dq’d (disqualified)?’” Curtis Simpson

For other swimmers, like rookie Laker Curtis Simpson, the Deer Lake meet didn't produce any medals. However, Simpson took seconds off nearly all his times, and swam his way to all top-10 finishes.

So, how did it feel to make the top-10 in all his events at his first-ever official meet?

"Really? I didn't even know that," said Simpson with a laugh. "I was pretty nervous waiting on the starting block. I was wondering, ‘When's the gun going to go off? When am I going to go? Am I going to get dq'd (disqualified)?'"

With such a large number of rookie Lakers competing in the pool this year, veteran swimmers like Cole and Rumbolt may be spending some of their time helping the rookies acclimate themselves to official competitions.

Cole said competing next to an older, more experienced swimmer can be hard to handle sometimes, especially if you're a rookie.

If there's one thing Cole wants the rookie swimmers to understand, it's that although the person next to you is bigger and faster, it doesn't mean you're actually competing against that person.

"Like our coach always says, if you're competing in a heat, half of the time the person next to you isn't even in your age group. I remember swimming in Deer Lake and having 17-year-old swimmers competing next to me," said Cole. "However, when the results came in for my age group, they weren't there. If you're a first-time swimmer, seeing someone older and more experienced next to you can be intimidating."

Organizations: Lakers

Geographic location: Deer Lake

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