Several qualify ahead of OFSAA swimming championships

By Larry Moko

Another Violin will be attending St. Mary Catholic Secondary School next September and that’s music to the ears of Crusaders swim team coach Philip Hunks.

Grade 11 student Laila Violin continues to excel in the pool for Hunks, qualifying for next month’s OFSAA swim championships in Toronto with her performance at the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference meet in Guelph Tuesday. She’s following in the wake of her older sister Emilia – a first-year student at Trent University – who also represented St. Mary at the provincial high school finals last year.

And, according to Laila, seven months from now younger sister Gabriella Violin is also going to be enrolled at St. Mary. She’s currently in Grade 8 at St. Joseph and swims at the club level for the Burlington Aquatic Devilrays.

“Laila is in her third year (as a swimmer at St. Mary),” Hunks said. “I had her sister for four years before her. And I think I have another one coming next year. They are a big swimming family.”

Laila and teammate Cindy Moskov led St. Mary by qualifying for OFSAA in two individual events each along with the girls’ 4x100m open freestyle relay. Violin made the grade in the girls’ 13-19 100m open individual medley (1:10.12) and the 100m open freestyle (1:00.41). Said Violin: “At the GHAC meet I’ve always been able to make a personal best, so when I did go 00.41 it was a victory in my eyes.”

At the club level for the Burlington Aquatic Devilrays, Violin’s background includes qualifying for provincials and only finding that she had done so on the car ride home.

“Right now I’m a club swimmer,” she said. “I just want to keep on improving. I’d like to go to a university that has a swim team and possibly swim for them.”

Moskov, who gave up club swimming two years ago, made the OFSAA qualifying time in the girls’ 15-and-over 100m backstroke (1:16.74) and the 50 butterfly (33.93).

“My best events (in club) were fly and back,” she said. “I made it all the way to nationals. So I was hoping to make OFSAA this year although, obviously, my time would be slower than it used to be.

“I just think it’s really good exercise. I love the feel of the water and being with my team. I’ve been swimming my whole life.”

The Crusaders freestyle relay team – Tatum O’Connor, Reegan Chinchilla, Moskov, Violin and Ryleigh Kay – finished in 4:23.39.

O’Connor, incidentally, placed fifth at OFSAA last year in the open 100m backstroke finals.

“I wasn’t able to make OFSAA myself this year but I qualified for the relay,” she said. “That felt good. Overall, a good experience.”

Charles Giammichele – a triplet — also had a pair of OFSAA placings for St. Mary in Para 100 freestyle (1:29.05) and 50 freestyle (38.98).

Samantha Coit was another OFSAA qualifier from St. Mary. In the girls’ 14-and-under 100m individual medley, her time was 1:21.19.

“I’m quite pleased,” Hunks said. “We’ve got a number of multiple qualifiers. Overall, we had a good day.”

Some other Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association qualifiers included: Bruno Richard Garb, St. John Henry Newman, boys’ 13-19 200m freestyle open (2:06.72) and Joshua Grajales, Bishop Ryan, boys’ 14-and-under 50m freestyle (30:14).

Nicholas Fricano has advanced to OFSAA in the para category from Bishop Tonnos while Marco Cuce, Brooke Fletcher, Matthew Saddler and Ryan Sorley will be representing Bishop Ryan in para.

The OFSAA championships in swimming are March 3-4 at the Pan Am Sports Centre.

Source: Angelica Tarli

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