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Flying Fins cap #SwimAgain Challenge with top 20 results nationally

Emily Lin records trio of top 20 national showings in 11-12 age group to lead string of impressive results for Fins
You can count the Moose Jaw Kinsmen Flying Fins among the many organizations wishing provincial- and national-level swim meets were taking place through the fall months.

Because if results from the #SwimAgain Challenge are any indication, they would have seen some pretty spectacular performances. 

The event, hosted by Swim Canada, saw teams from across the country swimming in specific disciplines over a six-week span and sending their results in for national rankings. Week one was the 200m kick, week two 100m individual medley, week three the 400m kick, week four 300m pull with pullbuoy, week five the 200m kick and the final week the 100m IM.

And through it all, Flying Fins competitors not only emerged with some of the top times provincially, but nationally as well.

Take Emily Lin, for example. The 11-12 year old competitor got off to an outstanding start with a top 15 nationally -- including both boys and girls -- in week one, an 11th place showing in week three and 18th place finish in week six.

Funny enough, Lin had little idea just what she was about to accomplish.

“It was like ‘whoa’.... I just thought it was a swim and I didn’t even think we would be doing placings in Canada,” she said with a laugh shortly after swimming an 800 metre freestyle time trial on Friday evening. “Then I was really shocked. I told my friends about it and they were like ‘that’s cool, but don’t brag about it’ and I was ‘I know, I know’.”

She was one of three Fins to finish with top-50 showings nationally and was joined by Molly Mack and Cole Hrechka in the final week, with both 10-and-under competitors finishing the 100m IM 37th and 27th in Canada respectively.

“So those are outstanding results for the team and individual swimmers,” said Flying Fins coach Gord Shields. “This is where there are over 4,000 swimmers involved and probably closer to 5,000 as well as 1,000 to 1,200 in each age group, so these are really amazing performances by them.”

Break things down by gender and the results get even better, with no fewer than 19 of the club’s competitors cracking the top 50 in the final week.

“So they’re doing extremely well considering the situation and the strange environment we’re in right now,” Shields said. 

Interestingly enough, the Fins also saw a host of personal bests from their younger swimmers, with 10-and-under competitors Seann Terry, Julia Zinn, Rylan Montgomery touching the wall with eight per cent or better improvement, and Gradey Martin seeing a six per cent improvement overall.

It’s all a sign of the hard work the team is putting in in the pool, even with the COVID-19 restrictions making things that much different.

“I try to make each practice a challenge for them, where we set individual goals for them to achieve, maybe a per cent off their best time or so many seconds off their best time, so they’re challenged each night in their training,” Shields said. “That keeps them motivated. Then we have protocol testing and monthly time trials that we do, so it all helps the swimmers see improvement when they’re in the pool.” 

With no meets for at least the next month, Swim Canada is hoping to run a new #SwimAgain Challenge in the new year. And you better believe the Fins will look to be a part of it all once again.

“We have competitions that are still on the schedule later in 2021, so we’re just going to have to wait until January and February to see how things are going with the COVID situation and where we are and what will happen,” Shields said. 

For someone like Emily Lin, having a chance to test herself against real live competition will be a welcome change, even if it does come with all sorts of nerves.

“Sometimes I’m not that into races because they’re nerve wracking but I’m kind of excited for the meets at the same time, it’s really exciting to get out of the house and be actually swimming (competitively) for once.” she said. “Then I’m always nervous at the meets, but when I’m leaving I’m sad because I always think I could have gotten a better time.”

For a look at the Fins results from the #SwimAgain Challenge, visit https://bit.ly/2IV8QQa.



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