James LeBuke and Hunter Stewardson, who swim for the Columbia Shuswap Selkirk Swim Team in Salmon Arm, qualified and competed at National Swim Competitions in July.
James LeBuke, 16, competed in two events at the Senior National Pan Pac Trials in Edmonton on from July 18-22.
In both his events, the 50 metre freestyle and 100 metre freestyle, LeBuke swam against a mostly 20 plus year old field and came in an impressive top 20 in both events on his way to personal best times and club records in the process.
Immediately following the senior competition, LeBuke and Stewardson left for Winnipeg to compete in the National Age Group Championships.
LeBuke competed in the 16-18 category while Stewardson, age 15, competed in the 15-17 category.
Both were in a tough spot, competing at the bottom of their respective age groups.
Stewardson had a fantastic swim in the 100 metre breaststroke clocking a best time and new club record of 1:15.94. Next year, she will continue to pursue her goals of making Team BC for Swimming.
LeBuke had break out performances at the National Age Group Championships, starting with the 100 metre freestyle. LeBuke was the fastest swimmer at the half way mark of the race but was unable to hold off last second charges by two older swimmers to claim the bronze medal in 51.72, losing out to gold by less than a half a second.
His time in the 100 metre freestyle was the fastest time posted by a 16 year old this year in Canada.
In his next event, the 50 metre freestyle, LeBuke took a half a second off his best time posting a 23.15 second time and claiming the silver medal, only 0.09 seconds off of the gold.
His 50 time was the fastest time posted by a 17 year old or under in Canadian Swimming this year.
In LeBuke’s final event, he had to overcome fatigue to come from eighth place position with 50 metres to go to gain on the field to take the silver medal in the 200 metre individual medley in a time of 2:07.92, nearly out touching the gold medal winner.
Coaches from Swim BC and Swim Canada felt that LeBuke was the most improved swimmer in his age group at the meet and now consider him one of the top 16 year olds in Canada.
This should help LeBuke with his goals to compete with the National Junior Team next season.
For both LeBuke and Stewardson this was their first full year of full-time swimming and they both have impressed coaches at the provincial and national level.
Their team, the Columbia Shuswap Selkirk Swim Team, has greatly improved, having a combined team score that placed the team 39th out of the 150 teams and 600 swimmers that competed.
Next for the swim duo is a month off, then back in the pool in September.