Summerside Masters swimmers compete at FINA Championships

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Five Summerside swimmers competed at the 15th FINA World Masters Championships recently in Montreal.

Jennifer Power-Hawrylak, Sarah Paynter, Meghan Colvin-Daley, Karen Thompson-Bell and Carolyn Rowe-Turner all qualified in their respective age groups at regional swim meets earlier in the year to earn the privilege of representing Canada. 

Participants made a splash in the 50-metre, outdoor Jean Drapeau Pool alongside swimmers from all over the world.

The FINA World Masters Championships is the federation’s biggest competition in terms of participation. It welcomes, every two years, adult athletes from all corners of the world. In total, 97 countries were represented in Montreal consisting of more than 7,000 athletes.

They competed in a range of events. Thompson-Bell competed in the maximum amount of five events: 800-, 400- and 200-meter freestyle, and 100 and 200 metre backstroke, as well as the three kilometre open-water swim in the rowing basin.

“One of my biggest thrills was when I was swimming in the three kilometre open-water and for quite awhile I could see the Biosphere when I breathed on my right side. Wow! I was kind of sightseeing while I was swimming. Really beautiful!” commented Thompson-Bell.

Like the others, Paynter was excited to attend Worlds. 

“This year was the first time I have competed since about 10 years ago. It certainly brings back memories.”

She swam the 800 free, 200 back, and 200 free. Colvin-Daley also swam in a range of events consisting of the 200 IM, 50 and 100 free but was most enthusiastic about those involving the breaststroke (100 and 200m). 

Rowe-Turner and Power-Hawrylak both competed in the 200 free, 200 IM, 50 free, 50 fly and Power-Hawrylak also swam in the 100-meter freestyle.

This was the first international swimming event for Thompson-Bell, Colvin-Daley and Rowe-Turner.

“I had no idea what to expect,” said Rowe-Turner, “but I was very excited and grateful to be participating with the other ladies and to have coach Ann (Kilby) with us. We were a great support for one another. We witnessed some incredible swimming and met some very inspirational swimmers.”

One such swimmer was the oldest competitor at the championship: 97-year-old, New Zealand world-record holder Katherine Johnstone. After witnessing swims by Johnstone and other women in their 70s, 80s and 90s Power-Hawrylak said, “Age is just a number, the possibilities are countless."

Over the weeklong event, many world and meet records were broken. Coach Kilby was pleased with the Summerside club members’ performances.

“Our swimmers achieved the goals that we set with some even swimming personal best times.”

The Summerside Masters Swim club is set to begin its new season this September.  For anyone interested in joining the club, registration will be held at the Credit Union Place Sept. 2nd and 4th from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

A free swim will follow the registration from 6 to 7 p.m. All ages (over 25 years) and ability levels are welcome. For further information contact coach Ann Kilby at: annkilby@pei.sympatico.ca 

Organizations: Credit Union Place

Geographic location: Canada, Montreal, New Zealand

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