The Vernon Kokanees take a breather at the West Coast Open at the Watermania Aquatic Centre in Richmond. (Photo Submitted)

The Vernon Kokanees take a breather at the West Coast Open at the Watermania Aquatic Centre in Richmond. (Photo Submitted)

Kokanee golden at West Coast Open swim meet

Huge swim meet hosted by Richmond Rapids.

Alex Shortt and Morgan Mardiros struck gold to spark the Vernon Kokanee swimmers in the gruelling 21st West Coast Open at the Watermania Aquatic Centre in Richmond.

Shortt won the 200-metre individual medley, while Mardiros ruled the 200 backstroke. Shortt bagged a silver medal in the 200 fly and bronze in the 100 back, while Mardiros took silvers in the 200 breast, 200 and 400 free and 200 IM.

More than 400 swimmers from B.C. and Washington State competed in a meet hosted by the Richmond Rapids.

Head coach Tyson Wellock gave special props to Jack Screen, who continues to drop time in all of his events; Jenna Heffner, who placed fifth in both the 50 and 100 back; Kate Mallow, who had great swims in the 100 back, 50 fly and 50 free; Sara Johnstone, who had an outstanding 50 free; Edouard Lemay, who placed fifth in the 50 free and dropped three seconds in the 100 fly; and Emily Sholdice who swam a fantastic 200 free.

“This was the team travel trip for the season, so the team travelled together by bus and roomed together at the competition,” said Wellock. “This was a great meet for the swimmers to learn about the value of rest and nutrition as the competition lasted for 13 hours on Saturday with an additional seven hours of competition on Sunday. All of the athletes did a fantastic job supporting and cheering for each other, which earned our club a $100 award for the best team at the meet. Although this meet was the first long-course competition of the season for most Kokanees and the athletes trained through it, there were still numerous excellent performances.”

The Kokanees will be back in competition May 18-20 in Kelowna followed by their main meet of the summer, June 1-3, in Kamloops.

Vernon earlier hosted a meet which was a great opportunity for many of the younger swimmers to shine.

Blayke Butler placed first in the 100 and 200 free, 50 back, 200 breast, 100 and 200 IM; Aidan Eglin topped the 800 free, 50 and 200 breast; Charlie Erickson ruled the 50 and 100 fly and Liam Greenan swept the 800 free, 100 and 200 back, 100 breast and 400 IM.

John Heffner won the 200 free and 100 back, while Gavin Johnson bested the 50 breast. Graham Johnstone ruled the 1,500 free, 200 back and 100 breast; Lemay won the 100 IM with Zach Makohoniuk taking second; Ryan Murphy took the 100 and 800 free and Brandon Phillips won the 100 free, 50 and 100 breast, 50 fly and 200 IM. Nick Phillips topped the 50 and 100 fly and the 100, 200, 400 IM; Zach Sholdice won the 200 fly; Brody Wright struck gold in the 1,500 free and 200 breast; Robert Yacovelli won the 200 fly; Heffner took the 800 free and the 100, 200 and 400 IM and Abbi Johnson won the 100 and 200 free and the 100 breast.

Vernon Morning Star