On the weekend of February 10th to the 12th, the Central Plains Sea Lions took part in the Manitoba Jr. Swimming Championships held at the Pan Am Pool in Winnipeg. The Sea Lions rose in the standings finishing fifth place overall in the standings behind the St. James Seals of Winnipeg by six points, winning the medium club award at the meet, making the club the top performing club outside of the perimeter at the Championship Meet.

The club had excellent performances out of the younger swimmers. In the 10 and under category, Sharlin Doty and Olivia Pehura, had attained 12 out of 14 best times between the two of them. Sharlin took home an individual bronze medal in the 50 butterfly while Olivia took bronze in the 50 back, 50 breaststroke, 200 free, and 100 IM. Sharlin’s coach Rob Pehura was extremely happy with her performance. “Sharlin has gained so much confidence in the past couple of years and has a tremendous work ethic in the pool. She is easy to coach and easy to joke around with. She often tells me I’m trying to give her a heart attack or she is going to sue me for making her work so hard. She is a pleasure to coach.”

In the 11-12-year-old category, Miami resident Anika Dyck had a strong performance achieving three gold medals in the 200 IM, 100 butterfly, and 400 freestyle. Her 200 IM was her strongest win as she took off a staggering 10 seconds off her personal best time. 

Dyck's coach Rob Pehura explains, "Anika is one of the top female swimmers in her age group in the province already and will be competing in a much larger meet out west in two weeks in Saskatoon, called ManSask Championships. This is a large meet with fast swimming and draws from as far west as BC and east as Toronto, and it will be nice to see Anika competing with the best that part of the country has to offer."

Kinley Cleaver also participated in her first Jr. Provincial competition and swum very well. As coach Pehura explains, "Kinley has recently just moved up an age group in January and the transition is always not an easy one when you move up. For girls, moving into the 11 and 12-year categories is especially tough as this is the stage that they really start to get stronger and grow. Kinley has a great deal of potential and over the next couple of years, will begin to make a name for herself in this age group; I have no doubt about that."

On the boys' side of things, Carson Pehura has a strong meet attaining a silver in the 100 backstroke and bronze in the 50 m butterfly. What makes his meet successful is he has attained AA standard times, which means he has punched his ticket to ManSask with Anika Dyck and two Senior Swimmers, Brett Vachon and Matthew McEwing.

Brett Vachon and Matthew McEwing, the two veterans of the Sea Lions had strong meets. Brett attained bronze medal swims in the 50 back and 100 m butterfly, silver in the 50 breaststroke and 100 IM, and a gold medal performance in the 100 free with a time breaking the minute barrier at 59.12.

For Matthew McEwing, he attained a bronze medal in the 400 m freestyle, a silver in the 200 and 800 m freestyle, and gold medals in the 200 butterfly, 50 backstroke, and the 100 and 200 m breaststrokes. For Matthew's efforts, he was able to win the high point award for his age group at this competition.

McEwing is Sea Lion grown talent and was with the club when it initially started with his brother Joseph. Pehura notes that it is nice to have homegrown talent starting to develop from the program.

On the girls' side, in the 13 and 14 age category, Sadie Cochrane has a fantastic swim meet. She attained best times in 6/7 of her swims. Her 200 backstroke came as a surprise as she attained a bronze medal in that swim. 

"Sadie did not want to swim that race initially, but I put her in it anyway," says Pehura. "I was a 200 m racer when I swam, and I try to train the kids to be able to swim that race. Before Sadie went to the marshal for the race, she said she will try it as we do in practice. I guess practice makes perfect because she took almost 8 seconds off that swim and won her induvial bronze."

Jaden Knight, who transferred to the club this year from Gander, Newfoundland, also qualified for the meet. Jaden had strong performances in the 50 and 100 freestyle, taking off 1.33 seconds and 2.09 seconds respectively. Pehura indicates that taking off big chunks of time at that age in sprints is not an easy feat. Jaden looked particularly strong in both of those swims, and I am happy that she closed off the meet in that way.

One nice outcome of this meet was the club being able to enter four relays in the competition. In the past, the most the club has been able to enter has been 2, but the ability to call in relay swimmers Geneva McEwing and Ciera Marten-Ram to the meet gave the club the chance to have each of the swimmers participate in at least one relay each. In the 11 and 12-year-old group, Kinley Cleaver, Olivia Pehura, Anika Dyck, and Sharlin Doty secured bronze medals in two relays, the 4x50 free and 4x50 Individual medley, while the mixed senior relay teams of Matthew McEwing, Geneva McEwing, Ciera Marten-Ram, and Brett Vachon earned a silver medal in the 4x50 free relay, and the team of Sadie Cochrane, Matthew McEwing, Carson Pehura, and Jaden Knight earned the gold in the 4x50 IM relay.


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