The Quesnel Special Olympic swim team was unstoppable at the Prince Rupert pool. Submitted photo

Quesnel Special Olympics showcase swim strokes up north

Ten local athletes took home 32 ribbons from Prince Rupert swim meet

Quesnel Special Olympic athletes took their talents to the second annual Prince Rupert Special Olympics Swim Meet on April 27.

The ten swimmers won a remarkable 32 ribbons at the event with a number of personal bests and terrific efforts from all who took part.

Coaches Megan Tilsner and Laurie Kent as well as assistant coaches Penny Ireland and Deborah Evans were all very pleased with the team’s effort.

“Everyone came home with a placement in at least one event,” says Tilsner; whose three sons, Zachary, Daniel and Josh were all competing.

She notes the competition was the first for athletes Jessica Colpits, Ashtin Gruending and her son Daniel.

The newcomers fared magnificently.

Tilsner says Gruending walked away with three ribbons and cut 40 seconds off his 50 metre freestyle, landing a personal best and a first place in his division; Colpits showed great technique in her 50 m freestyle, finishing in second place; and Daniel, the youngest athlete to compete with the Quesnel team, earned himself a first place finish and three second places too.

Her middle son, Zachary impressed with a first place finish and a personal best in the 100m backstroke.

Glenda Melnychuk was the only athlete to attempt the 100 m individual medley and received a third place finish.

Tracey Dodgson is new to the Quesnel team but has swam for other Special Olympics teams in the past. She sped her way to an impressive second place finish in the 100 m backstroke.

Paulette Prosk shaved 22 seconds off of her 50 m backstroke to earn a first place finish.

Tyler Kent swam each of his events with a smile on his face and received a 2nd place finish in his division for the 25 m freestyle.

Aaron Allinson claimed the first place ribbon in the 25 m freestyle.

Tilsner’s eldest son, Joshua set a goal at the beginning of the season to swim the 50 m freestyle in under 40 seconds. She says up until this tournament he had not been able to crack that time but under the bright lights he clocked a dolphin-quick time of 35.34 seconds.

“Although swimming is primarily made up of individual events, the team really came together to support each other,” she says, “Seeing the high fives at the end of a race between teammates and the swimmers from other teams was something so amazing to see.”

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