Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
It’s been a busy, and at times emotional, couple of months, but members of the Belleville Beast swim team continue to make waves in the pool.
The Beast placed fourth overall in the team standings – best in club history – at the regional championships in Nepean in early June. Individual results included: Francis Brennan five gold and one silver in the 13-14 male category; Judah Bell two gold, two silver and a bronze in the 10 & under males division; Ella Bolton silver and a bronze in the 10 & under female category; Caelen Calder silver and a bronze in the 13-14 male category; Adam Case gold, a silver and two bronze in the 11-12 male division; Owen Googe two silver and a bronze in the 15 & over male category; Emily Hudacin two silver and a bronze in the 11-12 female category; Alivia King gold in the 11-12 female division; Rayan Mecky three gold and two silver in the 11-12 male division; Morgan Slater one silver in the 11-12 female category; Maisie Walsh two gold, one silver and one bronze in the 11-12 female category; Austin Williams one gold, two silver and a bronze in the 13-14 male division; and Abbi Solomon achieved one bronze in the 15 & over female division.
Two weeks later at the Ontario Festivals (Top 13 & Under in the province) in Etobicoke, Judah Bell earned a silver in the 200-metre backstroke and two bronze in the 50-metre freestyle and 100-metre backstroke for 10 & under males. At the Ontario Youth Junior Championships (Top Tier 13 & Over in the Province) in Markham, Francis Brennan won the 100-metre backstroke, 200-metre backstroke and 200-metre freestyle and earned silver in the 100-metre freestyle for 14-year-old males. Ethan Williams grabbed bronze in the 200-metre individual medley for 15-year-old males. The Beast were well-represented at both events.
June 23 and 24, over 260 swimmers competed at the first Maddy Kort Invitational Swim Meet in Belleville. The Beast were accustomed to hosting a swim meet at that time of year in the past, though hadn’t for the past two years. This year the meet was renamed in honour of Maddy Kort, who tragically passed away as the result of a car accident in Florida in March.
In addition to Maddy’s former Beast teammates competing, the club also welcomed swimmers from Picton’s Quinte Dolphins as well as the Capital Wave Swim Team (Ottawa), Ernestown Barracudas (Amherstview), Perth Stingray Aquatic Club, Uxbridge Swim Club and Whitby Swimming.
“There were some pretty phenomenal results overall and some touching moments,” said Belleville Beast head coach Brandon Oates. “The meet itself was spectacular, a lot of fast racing, tons of medals given out and everyone swimming their hearts out with a smile on their face.”
It was important to the club to recognize Maddy now and for years to come. Oates said Beast coaches and swimmers “had more positive energy because she was around.”
“She was a phenomenal swimmer…good at all four strokes,” Oates added. “Her backstroke was her forte, but overall she was just a hard worker and dedicated to her craft.”
The swim meet raised over $7,000 for the club to contribute to the new Maddy Kort Dolphin Fund created by her family to help youth participate in sport.
That weekend the Beast also held its year-end banquet, which included the new Maddy Kort Award for team spirit and sportsmanship. There used to be separate awards for the two (Maddy won the sportsmanship award in 2019) and Oates said it made sense to combine them for this new recognition. Maisie Walsh was a fitting winner as the first recipient.
Other Beast award winners for 2022 were:
Rookie of the Year: Alyssa Barnes
Most Improved Jr. Beast: Ben Hudacin/Athena Zegouras
Most Improved Novice: Alexandra MacDonald
Most Improved Development: Lauren Redden/Lila Healey
Most Improved Advanced: Nate Mack
Most Improved Senior: Nate Fisher
Most Improved Performance: Abbi Solomon
Jr. Beast Coaches’ Award: Olivia Hunt/Ellis Kerr
Novice Coaches’ Award: Kelsey Mitts
Development Coaches’ Award: Lilly Peck
Advanced Coaches’ Award: Hallie Upton/Rayan Mecky
Senior Coaches’ Award: Taneesha Asher
Performance Coaches’ Award: Brendan MacQuarrie
Top Performer: Francis Brennan
Golden Goggle Award: Austin Williams
Rick Graham Award: Victoria Black
Graduating Honours: Owen Googe/Lexy Buchanan
In early July, three swimmers – Abbi Solomon, Austin Williams and Ethan Williams – competed at the Ontario Swimming Championships in Scarborough at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Ethan Williams earned a bronze medal in the 200-metre backstroke.
This past weekend in Gravenhurst, 10 Beast swimmers competed in a two-kilometre race for the Ontario Open Water Championships in the lake. Maisie Walsh captured the bronze medal in the 12-year-old female category.
Next up, Francis Brennan will compete in a number of events at the junior national championships in Montreal July 25-31.