Having just missed out on getting his provincial qualifying time in the 800m freestyle at meet here last month, Fort Frances Aquanaut swimmer Adam Stromberg was gunning to achieve that goal during the Kenora Fall Invitational this past weekend.
With the added pressure of having to wait until the very last swim of the weekend, Stromberg came through in the clutch by smashing the qualifying time of 10:43.00 with a run of 10:31.45.
“I’m ecstatic to get that 800 run done as I won’t have to do it again for a long time,” Stromberg smiled.
“I had [Aquanaut teammate] Donovan [Taylor] in the other lane during my swim, and I honestly don’t think I could have achieved that time without him pushing me to where I needed to be,” he noted.
“As well, my coach Dawnn [Taylor] had put me on a stroke count to help me in trying to achieve that time, and I think that also really helped me out.”
“I think for Adam, getting that 800m run done was like taking a big lead weight off of his back,” said Dawnn Taylor.
“The thing . . . is that if you are regularly an 800m or a 400m swimmer, those races are easy,” she noted. “But if you are regularly a short-distance swimmer, those races can be extremely long.
“But in order to qualify for provincials, which is something that Adam really wanted to get back to this year, you need to swim those [long] races and Adam came through when he needed to.”
By getting that prerequisite time in the 800m freestyle, the 13-year-old will be able to compete at the provincial championships in Etobicoke from March 1-3, where he more than likely will be participating in his strong events, such as the 50m and 100m freestyle.
“I don’t think I’ll be going into the 800 for provincials, though, as I don’t think Dawnn wants to see my die again,” Stromberg laughed.
In addition to his 800m time, which earned him first place in the boys’ 13-14 age group, Stromberg also finished first in the 100m and 200m freestyles, the 50m breaststroke, and the 200m individual medley.
He added runner-up showings in the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, and 100m breaststroke.
“I think that I did pretty good this weekend as I was able to set some personal best times in a few events, and stay close to my personal best times in a couple of others,” Stromberg noted.
Two of the other top swimmers for the Aquanauts in Kenora were Kaela Lowey and Lyndsi Jo Wilson, who both set personal best times in all of their events.
“There were a couple of times that Lyndsi had [that were] just a tiny bit ahead of her previous best times,” Dawnn Taylor said of Wilson, who swim in the girls’ 13-14 age division.
“But she did great all weekend, and her [fourth-place] swim in the 100m butterfly was phenomenal.
“Kaela is just coming back into competitive swimming after a couple of years away,” Taylor added of Lowey, who swims in the girls’ 15-and-over category.
“And while she and her family have been known to be good at the breaststroke, her backstroke and her butterfly strokes are both really pretty to watch.”
Other strong performances by Aquanaut swimmers over the weekend included four first-place finishes (50m free, 50m back, 50m breast, and 50m fly) for Donovan Taylor in the boys’ 15-and-over division.
Meanwhile, it was a trifecta of third-place showings for both Jillian Gustafson (50m and 200m back, and 50m breast) in the girls’ 15-and-over category and Regan Danylchuk (800m free, and the 50m and 100m fly) in the girls’ 13-14 division.
Also competing at the Kenora meet were members from the local Cyclone Swim Club, who were led by a first-place showing by Julia Quast in the girls’ 13-14 100m I.M. with a time of 1:52.09.
Next up is the Prairie Winter Invitational in Winnipeg on Dec. 1-4, where six Aquanauts—Stromberg, Taylor, Lowey, Wilson, Danylchuk, and Levi Rittau—will compete.