Payton Nackoney helped the Summerland Orca swim team close its season in exciting fashion.
The 13-year-old won a bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle and an Age Group national qualifying time in the 100-m freestyle at the BC AAA Long Course swimming championships held in Victoria. Her time of 28.75 seconds was a new club record and missed the Western National championship for 15 and under mark by a mere .01 seconds.
The following evening, Nackoney seeded eighth going into the final of the 100-m freestyle. With a lane assignment on the outside of the pool (the fastest swimmers are assigned to the middle lanes), she was not expected to be a factor. However, Nackoney blasted off the blocks and going stroke-for-stroke with the leaders. At the finish, she moved up to fourth-place, a mere tenth of a second out of the medal contention. Nackoney’s time qualified her for the Canadian Age Group National championships.
The first day of the meet had some mild disappointment as Nackoney was an alternate for the finals in both the 200-m freestyle and the 100-m butterfly.
“We knew those events would be difficult to make finals and we were happy that she had moved up from the pre-meet rankings quite a bit,” said coach Tom Best. “We knew her best events were coming up later in the meet.
“Just missing the Western National time was exciting because that’s the first time she has been in range of a senior level meet,” he continued. “She’s getting up there with the big girls now.”
Nackoney set five club records on the weekend, two in the 50-m freestyle, and one each in the 100- and 200-m freestyle events and another in the 100-m butterfly.
“I just wanted to do my best. I really love racing and I had worked hard on my racing skills like starts, turns and finishes,” she said.
Also participating was Daylon Tilitzky, 18. While not qualifying for any final swims, Tilitzky swam to a new club record in the 1500-m freestyle as well as personal best performances in the 50- and 100-m freestyle events.