Both the Windsor Bluefins and the Cole Harbour Hurricanes, hosted the tournament and shared organizing duties for the event held from Aug. 18 – 20, at the Hants Aquatic Centre.
Many provincial records were broken, with new ones set, and a diverse team of all stars was selected at the final medal ceremony.
15 teams from across the province participated, some smaller, some larger. In all, approximately 500 swimmers ranging in age from five to 18, along with their families, descended on Windsor to show off their best.
The only thing that didn’t cooperate was the weather, drenching the tournament on Aug. 19 with consistent rainfall. But the participants didn't let it dampen their spirits.
Many volunteers, parents and onlookers were wearing rubber boots to avoid mud on the drenched fields surrounding the aquatic centre.
But spectators were begging for relief from the hot sun on the final day of the tournament, as it baked the soggy grounds all morning and afternoon with temperatures reaching into the 30’s.
The Middleton Missiles, unable to send coaches to the provincials themselves, relied on their Kentville Marlin counterparts to coach the athletes that were there – another sign of camaraderie.
Accommodations were fully booked in town, as some visitors took to camping in tents for the tournament.
This is the first time the event has been held in Windsor since 2009, when a hurricane disrupted a portion of the proceedings.
Hayden Adams, head coach of the Windsor Bluefins, with a booming voice as he yelled ‘go, go, go,’ to his athletes, said he was really proud of Louis Smith’s performance, who was able to take several seconds off of his original time.
Smith, 11, participated in the 100-metre Individual Medley, 25 metres of each stroke – butterfly, breast, freestyle, and back.
“It’s a pretty long race and it’s his first year, so it’s a tougher race,” Adams said. “He was going into that with 229.82 and he just took off about 13 seconds, 216.31. That was only two weeks ago, so we’re super pumped for him.”
He said overall it was a big year for the Windsor club.
“In 2017 we’re up to 24 members, and I think this has been a really good building year, eight more members than last year,” he said. “We had two members selected for the All-Star team and a fair number of medals, a lot of improvement.”
Adams also won the Spirit of Swimming Award, given to him by his fellow coaches.
Jessica Bent, the assistant coach of the Bluefins agreed.
“We’ve seen a lot of personal development and maturity from the swimmers as well,” Bent said. “There’s no one that didn’t have a best time.”
Nicole Hutchinson, coach with the Bridgetown Seakings jokingly said they managed to survive the downpour on Aug. 19 and were enjoying the sunshine on Aug. 20.
“I’m really impressed with our athletes, they all got their best times,” Hutchinson said. “We’re a small team, seven or eight kids here all weekend but they did really well and all had fun. That’s all that matters.”
Corbin Beviss, 17, with the Seakings took home three medals, two in front crawl and one in butterfly.
Sam Stoddart, 9, won a gold medal in 25-metre backstroke.
Ethan Payne, Kentville Marlins head coach could be seen enthusiastically running up and down the edge of the pool – he worked with both the Kentville and Middleton athletes.
“The Middleton team contacted us and said they didn’t have any coaches coming to provincials and wondered if we could sort of join forces for the weekend,” Payne said. “So they’re staying in our tent and we’re helping them out with their swims.”
Combined the Kentville Marlins and the Middleton Missiles make up approximately 25 swimmers.
Payne said it wasn’t too big of a challenge to coach both teams.
“Provincials have been really great, we’ve seen lots of best times,” he said. “Windsor has done a great job hosting. Thanks to all of the volunteers its been great.”
Robin Domingo, 12, with the Kentville Marlins set a provincial record in 50-metre butterfly stroke. He also picked up three gold and two silver medals during the provincials.
Organizers happy with tournament
Michelle Bregante, one of the organizers of the provincial tournament with the Windsor Bluefins Club said she received a lot of positive feedback from the other clubs.
“Nobody (else) stepped up to host provincials this year, it’s been on the shoulders on a lot of the larger teams in recent years,” Bregante said. “This is a way for us and Cole Harbour to put our brands out there to increase our numbers a bit as well.”
Most of the swimmers train hard and compete in regional tournaments over the relatively short summer season for eight weeks leading up to the provincials.
“Most kids tend to gravitate towards this because they just love the water, they love swimming,” she said. “It’s an all-body exercise. The popularity of the sport during the Olympics has also helped shine some limelight on swimming as well.”
Overall Top Team winner was the Bridgewater Barracudas (BWB) overall Top Small Team winner was the Cole Harbour Hurricanes (CHH) and the Most Improved Team was the Canada Games Centre Clippers.
Team High Point Award winners were as follows:
10 & Under: Waeg Waves
11-12: Bedford Beavers
13-14: Bridgewater Barracudas
15-16: Bridgewater Barracudas
17-18: Bridgewater Barracudas
10 & Under: Cole Harbour Hurricanes
11-12: Canada Games Centre Clippers
13-14: Cole Harbour Hurricanes
15-16: Colby Sailfish
17-18: Cole Harbour Hurricanes
Top Male Swimmer of the Meet: Andrew Johnson (BWB), Patrick Deveau (CHH), James Cameron Hamilton (Canada Games Clippers)
Top Female Swimmer of the Meet: Madison Slack (CHH), Amy Hartling (BWB)
Coach of the Year: Mat Bernier, Colby Sailfish
Assistant Coach of the Year: Ellen Taggart, Cole Harbour Hurricanes
Spirit of Swimming Award: Hayden Adams, Windsor Bluefins
Summary of NS Provincial Records Set:
Robin Domingo, Kentville Marlins, 11 and 12, 50-metre Butterfly, 31.82
Emma Hamlyn, Waeg Waves, 11 and 12, 50-metre Breaststroke, 38.65
Madison Slack, Cole Harbour Hurricanes, 11 and 12, 50-metre Breaststroke, 38.65
Patrick Deveau, Cole Harbour Hurricanes, 17 and 18, 100-metre Butterfly, 1:14.34
Travis Smith, Adam Culbert, Quinn Conrad, Logan Sangster, Bridgewater Barracudas, 13 and 14, 200-metre Freestyle Relay, 1:57.84.
Full meet results and scores can be found at the following URL: