Swimmers make splash at Can/Am meet

KISU’s Andrew Cooke and Avery Newton were only at the Can/Am swim meet for experience.

KISU’s Andrew Cooke and Avery Newton were only at the Can/Am swim meet for experience.

They both surprised coach Jane Bentley by winning three gold medals at the event held in Gatineau, Que.

“They totally blew my mind,” said Bentley. “They were actually at that competitive level. That’s what surprised me. Wow, we’re competitive here. It was an international stage.”

It was the first time for both in that type of spotlight.

Cooke won in the 50-metre breast stroke and Newton in the 50-m and 100-m butterfly.

“That was pretty hard,” said Cooke. “There was good competition.”

Now both swimmers get to experience another international meet in December in California, then prepare for an Olympic trial next spring. To be ready, it forces them to double their practice schedule from four times a week.

Bentley said she was initially thinking of the Paralympic games in Brazil for the duo. She also had ideas of doing trials again in Montreal during the spring as experience.

“First you just have to put your toe in the water,” said Bentley. “As I see how they upped their game, maybe if we really put the pedal to the metal, we got a shot at Andrew specifically, making the Games. He will be an underdog, outside stretch. The potential is now there.”

Cooke has been swimming with KISU since 2002, while Newton has since 2008.

Bentley said that Newton is new to this level of swimming as she previously competed with Special Olympics. Bentley has been impressed with Newton’s growth, especially since Cooke has been doing it for 10 years.

“For Avery, her rate of improvement is really amazing,” said Bentley. “And she is an awesome training partner for Andrew. That girl is willing to do the work. They kind of inspire each other that way in the pool.”