Kirk qualifies for junior nationals

Kim Kirk, 16, earned a spot at the junior national meet in Calgary next month after recording a qualifying time in the 100-m freestyle event last weekend at the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts Invitational.
Aquanaut head coach Debbie Murray said she was impressed with Kirk’s time, which cracked the qualifying mark of 1:02.03. It’s the first time an Aquanaut has made junior nationals since Sue Swing did it more than 10 years ago.
But Murray also said all her swimmers had an “excellent” meet in Thunder Bay.
“I was really impressed with our junior swimmers who are very motivated and continue to improve,” she noted.
The three-day meet, held at the Lakehead University pool, attracted 142 swimmers from Fort Frances, Kenora, Atikokan, Balmertown, and host Thunder Bay.
“Our swimmers did really well considering they had to compete in longer events,” enthused Murray, in her 11th season as head coach.
“We had swimmers swimming longer races–eight laps instead of two or four,” she explained.
Murray said her swimmers maintained a high level of conditioning over the Christmas break, which allowed them to make the transition to the longer races.
“It was good to see us do well and be successful so they can now get ready for the Division III competition at the end of April in Etobicoke,” she said.
Murray hopes to take 25 Aquanauts to that meet.
Meanwhile, Murray also said she is excited that several of her swimmers already have attained junior provincial standards, which will be held next month in Brantford.
“We haven’t had anyone [attend] the junior provincials [for] about 12 seasons,” she said, noting Cory Brow qualified about eight years ago but chose not to attend.
The Aquanauts’ next competition will be Feb. 13-15 in Dryden.