Swimmers close the gap

The Pen High Lakers took second in the provincial swimming championship in Kamloops

The Pen High Lakers swim team is No. 2 in the province for the second straight year.

For a second time, the Lakers finished behind Vancouver’s St. George’s School Saints boys team. The Saints topped the overall standings with 705.5 points, while the Lakers closed in at 681.

Laker co-captain Ann Marie Lang-Hodge said they are happy with their performance because they closed the gap. Last year St. George’s had 597 points to Pen High’s 486.

Here are the Lakers gold-medal medal winners:

Girls 400 Free:  Payton Nackoney, Myah Nackoney, Machenzie Wallich, Kristen Vandeweghe

Boys 400 Free: Riley Wall, Simon Paisley, Xelian Louw, Tyler Wall

Girls 200 Free: Anna Spence, Myah Nackoney, Payton Nackoney, Ann Marie Lang-Hodge

Boys 200 Free: Xelian Louw, Riley Kascak, Simon Paisley,

Sam Lasinski.

Medley Relay: Sam Lasinski, Jaren Lefranc, Riley Wall and Tyler Wall — they missed a provincial record by .06 seconds.

Mixed 200 Free: Wynn Nordlund, Dan Everton, Myah Nackoney, Payton Nackoney

Mixed 200 Medley: Hayley Berrisford, Anna Spence,  Dan Everton, Jaren Lefranc

Gold medal event winners

Sam Lasinski in the 200 individual medley, Jaren LeFranc in the 100-metre breast stroke, Riley Wall in the 50- and 100-m freestyle and Tyler Wall in the 100-m backstroke.

“We brought back a lot of trophies this year. Last year we didn’t bring back any trophies,” said Lang-Hodge. “That was a really great experience.”

Lang-Hodge said competition was tough as St. George had a fast group of boys and other schools such as West Point Grey, who were equally as strong taking  third with 619 points, as well as other Vancouver schools. She said the Lakers were able to compete with them.

Adding to their success, Lang-Hodge said was how the tight group bonded as a team.

“The really big team spirit I think is one of the reasons why we did so well,” she said. “It just brought us all close together.”

Kascak, the other Lakers co-captain, said what they did was unbelievable and that the success of one person led to others.

“We just built off that,” he said.

While the Lakers had a few swimmers with top rankings entering provincials, he said others who didn’t rank high, like himself, moved up.

“That’s what it took. We had people step up,” said Kascak. “That’s what led to our great success.”

He was impressed by how they came together and were more focused on team success than individual. Whenever a Laker was in the water, teammates cheered for that swimmer.

“I think that was just really special to have,” he said.