Hugh McNeill swam with the big boys last weekend, and came away with a pair of medals, including one of the golden variety.
Racing against competitors a year older than him, the 10-year-old member of the Langley Olympians Swim Club (LOSC) shone at the Swim BC AAA Short Course Age Group Championships, held at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Kamloops.
McNeill competed in the 11 & under age category and won gold in the 200m backstroke with a best time of 9.20 seconds.
He also won bronze in the 400m freestyle and made finals in the 100m backstroke.
Taking place over four days, this challenging heats and finals championship meet was the highlight of many young swimmersâ€™ short course (25 metre pool) season.
Each swimmer attending the meet had to achieve a minimum of two qualifying times.
The number of events swum by each athlete was determined by these qualifying times.
Forty teams of swimmers from all over B.C. headed up to Kamloops to battle for the top spot of each age group and event.
Everyone taking part needed to race hard just to achieve a place in the finals.
LOSC had 28 young swimmers who had achieved the specified times in order to attend the meet.
Several Olympians made it to finals with many of them coming away with medals and a number of new club records.
Chelsea Borrowdale, 14, won gold in the 14-15 year girls 200m breaststroke. Borrowdale also made finals in the 400 freestyle, 200m IM, 400m IM, 100m breaststroke and 200m freestyle.
Justin Schramm, 15, swam to a silver medal in the 15-year-old boys 400m IM and 200m freestyle and bronze in the 400 freestyle. Schramm also made finals in 200m fly, 200m IM, and 100m fly.
Bailey Herbert, 11, won bronze in the 11 & under girls 200m IM. She made finals in the 200m fly, 400m IM, 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, and 100m fly.
Hillary Metcalfe, 15, won bronze in the 14-15 year-old girls 200m breaststroke. Metcalfe also made finals in 200m IM, 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, and 200m freestyle.
LOSC relay teams were the stars of the meet.
The 12 & under boys 200m medley team of Hugh McNeill, Brayden Kells, Joshua Kim, and Avery Martin won gold and broke the club record in a time of 2:12.32.
The 14 & under girls (Chelsea Borrowdale, Alysse Franklin, Robyn Nakano, and Renae Ledoux) won gold in the 800m freestyle in a time of 8:49.77, also in the 200m freestyle (Alysse Franklin, Robyn Nakano, Renae Ledoux, Chelsea Borrowdale) in a time of 1:53.29, and the 200m medley (Alysse Franklin, Renae Ledoux, Robyn Nakano, Chelsea Borrowdale) in a time of 2:04.77.
The LOSC 12 & under boys (Avery Martin, Brayden Kells, Ryan Han, Joshua Kim) won silver in the 800m freestyle and the 200m freestyle (Joshua Kim, Avery Martin, Brayden Kells, Ryan Han).
Both these Olympiansâ€™ relay teams set new club records, with the 800m freestyle in a time of 9:45.89 and 200m freestyle in a time of 1:58.19.
The 12 & under girls 200m medley team (Ellen Lansing, Bailey Herbert, Josie Field, Pearl Schramm) won silver and the 200m freestyle team (Bailey Herbert, Josie Field, Pearl Schramm, Ellen Lansing) won bronze.
Joshua Kim, 11, set two new individual club records in the 11-12 boys 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:15.84 and the 200m breaststroke (2:45.37).
Overall, the LOSC placed seventh.
â€œThe swimmers raced well and many of them made finals. The standards at this meet were really high so swimmers needed to race their best to make it into finals,â€ LOSC head coach Brian Metcalfe said. â€œOur relay teams were fantastic and made me really proud.â€
LOSC registration is ongoing. Call 604-532-5257 or visit langleyolympians.com for details.