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Okotoks Mavericks make waves at December meets

Swimming: Wells Ginzer breaks pair of club records at JP Fiset Invitational
SPORTS-Mavericks swimming
Okotoks Mavericks swimmers, from left, Wells Ginzer, Filip Bednarz, Christopher Giles and Caden Kotowich at the JP Fiset Invitational Swim Meet. Ginzer set a pair of club records in the boys 15-16 age category in a starring performance at the JP Fiset Invitational, held Dec. 17-19 in Edmonton. (Photo submitted)

Record-setting swims, podium finishes, time standards achieved and personal bests – all in a weekend’s work for the Okotoks Mavericks. 

The Mavericks Swim Club completed a pair of impressive team and individual performances at the JP Fiset Invitational and Cascade Age Group Challenge held Dec. 17-19 in Edmonton and Calgary. 

In Edmonton, the Mavericks finished in the top-10 of all clubs attending and produced the second-best results among medium-sized teams. 

“I was extremely impressed and I knew the swimmers were going to swim fast because they’ve been swimming really fast in practice,” said Mavericks head coach Emma Hesterman. “They were tapering down and regaining their energy, they were hitting their goals they wanted to achieve. 

“...You always know going in if the swimmers are going to do well or not based on how hard they’ve been working and every single swimmer excelled and did phenomenal and stepped it up every single day.” 

At the JP Fiset meet, Wells Ginzer had a weekend to remember. 

Ginzer broke two club records in the boys 15-16 age group category in the 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle.  

The butterfly record was held by alumnus and Tokyo Games Olympian Finlay Knox while the freestyle mark was previously held by Justin Lisoway, a national medallist with the Mavericks now competing as a student-athlete at the University of Hawaii. 

“He has this great mental strength where when he's going into a race he’s able to overcome any tiredness,” said Hesterman. “He’ll look at the next swimmer and go ‘Yeah, I’m going to beat you,’ and no matter what he’s going to beat them. 

“He has this great positive outlook of what he can do to beat the person next to him and it’s quite incredible to see that.” 

Ginzer earned three gold, one silver and two bronze in Edmonton as well as achieving his western national time standard in seven events. 

Also hitting the western national time standard was Tess Barber, who registered two bronze medal swims, along with Filip Bednarz and Caden Kotowich. 

Ninety-eight per cent of the Mavericks swims in the competition were best times for the young athletes, many of whom also hit the championship time standards including Ginzer, Barber, Bednarz, Deon Badenhorst, Tahlia Hawthorne, Emma Hicklin, Alexander Holt, Keton Murphy as well as Caden and Jasper Kotowich. Christopher Giles also notched his provincial time standard swim in the capital city. 

“They’ve been cutting off time every single week, which part of is expectation, they’ve been off swimming for a while and a lot of them have grown so you kind of expect that,” the coach added. “Going into this big meet, it was can they keep it going? And they did and they outshone themselves. 

“I’m still on a high from it.” 

During the same weekend the Mavericks younger groups competed at Calgary’s Cascade Age Group Challenge. 

Oscar Bednarz earned two gold, one silver and one bronze while hitting his festival time standard in each race, Mikayla Paul added silver and bronze and provincial time standards with Jaden Melton adding two bronze swims, provincial time standards in each race along with a championship time in the 100m breaststroke. 

Charlotte Johnston and Lucy Wiens earned provincial times in all of their events. 

Adding top 16 finishes were Connor Hoveland, Cora Hunter, Matthew James, Katherine Kohn, Aidan Spence, Carson Vollman and Noah Wiens. 

“They all stepped it up, they all swam pretty well,” Hesterman said. “We had lots of best times and quite a few provincial times achieved as well.” 

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Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact
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