Local athletes make waves, toss hammers and spike volleyballs at BC Summer Games

Columbia Valley well-represented at island’s summer games

Making a splash

Three local swimmers from the Columbia Valley Otters Swim Club joined 2,000 youth from across province on Vancouver Island for the BC Summer Games in Cowichan Valley from July 19th to 22nd.

Devin Woodworth, Ashley McDiarmid and Hannah Fullerton, all aged 14, traveled to the games with their coach Karen Fahrni. The local swimmers met up with five other swimmers and another coach to represent the Kootenay region.

In an interview the day before they headed off for the games, Devin, Ashley and Hannah said they were looking forward to racing at the provincial level.

“It’s exciting, but I’m kind of nervous. It’s nerve wracking,” said Hannah, adding that she was honoured to be invited to participate.

“I was an alternate at first and that was exciting,” she said. But when she was bumped up into a competition slot, she was “so happy, so excited.”

Ashley felt the same way. “It just feels really cool that we’re representing all of the Kootenays,” she said.

Since Devin previously attended the provincial games to play badminton, he said he felt prepared and eager to compete again.

This is the first time the local swim club is sending three swimmers to the provincial competition, Ms. Fahrni said. The last few times, the club has sent a single swimmer.

“It’s been fun to watch these kids step up their training,” she said, adding that she’s proud of the whole team.

Lately Hannah, Ashley and Devin have been practicing for an hour and a half up to five times a week at a private residence in Invermere.

“I’m excited to see some fast swimming from these kids,” Ms. Fahrni said. “They’ll be aiming for some best times while they’re there there because they’ve been training hard.”

The swimmers competed in a series of races ranging from 50 to 800 metres, using the butterfly stroke, backstroke, breaststroke and swimming freestyle.

“We had an incredible time at the games,” Ms. Fahrni said in an email after the competition. “They swam fast, cheered loud, and had a lot of fun. Despite being the smallest Zone at the swim meet, our swimmers all had best times and had some pretty fast relays where they worked together to push past fatigue and bring exciting energy to their swims.”

Chucking hammers

Emma Postlethwaite attended the BC Summer Games to compete in the hammer throw and javelin events. She placed 6th in the hammer throw and was stunned to have performed so well.

“It felt really awesome,” she said. “I expected to get last.”

Emma chucked her hammer 27.58 meters, five meters further than her previous personal best.

She said the difference was that she had been practicing with a four-kilogram hammer but the one in the competition was three kilograms.

“It was the most fun I’ve had ever,” she said. “My team was really great. We all got along really well and we all lived off of each others’ success and supported each other.”

Emma hopes to get even better at the sport and to keep competing.

“My plan is to train year round with a hammer,” she said. “I would go out to an empty field and just throw.”

Setting and spiking

Mya Wiegert and another volleyball player from Elkford were partnered up for the BC Games.

“I’ve only ever actually played against her in other tournaments,” Mya said.

It took a little while for the former competitors to learn to work together as a team and to play to each other’s strengths, she said. Their games picked up once they formed “a good team dynamic” and figured out how to best support each other.

“It was a lot of fun and was really cool to stay with other athletes playing the same sport as you because you have a lot in common with them,” she said. “It was a lot of fun to play against other really good players.”

Mya’s whole family plays volleyball. Her dad coaches her high-school volleyball team, and her family occasionally gathers around the net.

“It just is really fun to play with my family,” she said.

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