Hayley Price capped a breakout summer in the pool in championship style at the B.C. Summer Swimming Association championships in Coquitlam on the weekend.
The Nanaimo native returned with four medals, two gold and two silvers, but the highlight by far was setting a provincial record in the Div.7 200-metre freestyle relay with Darby Walker, Catherine Carriere Der and Ellen Taekema.
The four are close friends and have been swimming together since they were little. But, this weekend likely means the last time they will compete as a group, with both Walker and Carriere Der graduating.
"It is really tough, especially having our coaches leave too. It was a kind of an overwhelming provincials," said Price, 17. "Everyone was all cheerful and sad, but we'll still see each other, we'll still stat in touch."
Their time of 1:54.43 was just one tenth of a second faster than the old mark.
The foursome also set a record in the same event at the Vancouver Island Regional Championships in Nanaimo.
Price swam the final leg of the relay both times. In Coquitlam she jumped in the pool with the lead and only stretched it out over the final 50 metres.
"I wasn't sure if I was going to make it or not when I got to the wall, the time flashes if you get a record and I was so happy, I could see all of my teams jumping up and down," she said. Price also earned a gold medal in the 50-metre freestyle (28.41), her signature event, and bronze in the 200-metre medley (2:12.58) relay with same group and bronze in the 100-metre freestyle.
Price has dominated this year, winning just about every race she entered this year.
"This is my best year so far," she said, adding this is just her third time at provincials.
It was a big meet for the club overall, finishing third overall out of 61 clubs in the province, eclipsing last year's best-ever finish of fourth, earning 28 medals in total.
Other top performances included two gold medals from Ian Mattock in the Div. 8 200-metre IM (2:09.33) and the 100-metre butterfly (57.66) and Richard Bourgeois who got gold in the 100-metre breast stroke (1:05.74) and bronze in the 200-metre IM (2:13.95).
In Div. 6 boy's Riley Prout-Holm earned silver in the 100-metre freestyle (55.93) and bronze in the 50-metre freestyle (25.59) while adding gold in the 200-metre freestyle relay (1:43.61) and silver in the 200-metre medley (1:58.54) with Chris Yates, Callum Gemma and Josh Todd. "Everyone swam really well and contributed to the team coming third overall," said head coach Gareth Saunders who was also at his last meet after five years as head coach and 16 years overall with the club.
He leaves the club with a strong future with a large group of up and coming swimmers and should help keep them competitive, as demonstrated by the Boys Div. 1 relay team of Gus Johnson, Carter James, Peter Morch and Bryan Moore who earned silver in the 200-metre medley (3:23.24) and bronze in 200-metre freestyle (2:53.15).
"There's a lot of younger swimmers who will be looking to continue to improve," said Saunders.
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