Swim racers emerge at Youth Cup
by Randy Pascal
As much as Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club head coach Dean Henze wants to develop talented swimmers, he might well be seeking to identify
driven racers even more. Enjoying a large measure of success, in that regard, was the biggest takeaway, in his mind, after his 19 athlete contingent
competed at Youth Cup in Toronto.
"I was quite pleased," stated Henze at a recent team practice. "As a group, we stood out and performed one race after the other. I expected them to be
good. I didn't expect them to be that good. Part of it was that they really wanted to stand up and race, and they sure did a great job of that."
A naturally competitive youngster who has been actively involved on the provincial triathlon circuit for several years now, Isabella Mastroianni
continued her run of outstanding results, earning gold in the 200m backstroke, 200m breaststroke and 400m individual medley, and silver in the 200m I.M.
Still, the 15 year old grade 10 student at St Benedict Catholic Secondary School acknowledged a gradual transformation in the manner in which she
has approached her swimming career in recent years.
"I train a lot more now than I used to," explained Mastroianni. "I try a lot harder, and we have more practices. Two years ago, I didn't like training
hard, I didn't like training. Now, there's more people with me to talk to, so it's easier to get the workouts done."
Beyond simply the quantity of time spent in the pool, Mastroianni has been helped along by a mindset that allows her to be something of a quick study.
"Dean (Henze) will note things when we're swimming," she said. "Once he tells me to fix something, I would say that I am pretty good at quickly changing
Where Mastroianni and a handful of her SLSC teammates have been podium mainstays at provincial meets in recent years, 14 year old Ryan Tom is
just starting to move closer to cracking that upper echelon. The timing is just right, according to the grade nine student of Lo-Ellen Park Secondary
"I know that I am growing, right now, so I feel that this is my biggest year to take off lots of time and qualify for many things," Tom suggested. "I
have gained from having more muscle strength, a lot more endurance, a lot more strength coming through the walls and in the back half of the races."
Nowhere was that more evident than in the 200m breaststroke, an event in which he recorded a meet best fifth place finish, one that he matched in the
400m individual medley. "In practice, I felt pretty strong," he said. "But when I got into that race, I took off seven seconds, which really shocked me.
I thought I was going to take off two or three seconds, not seven."
Like Mastroianni, the gradually increasing maturity that Tom has displayed in all aspects of his swimming involvement has led to a somewhat different
perspective to both competitions and workouts.
"I think of races differently," he admitted. "I think of what I have to do for each 50, or each 100. A few years ago, I felt like the training was
something I would do every day, just to keep swimming. Now, I have to focus on maybe one thing at a time for each set that I do."
For Henze, the Mastroianni/Tom tandem were part of a group of more experienced swimmers that particularly exceeded expectations in Etobicoke. "With the
younger kids, I'm always fairly confident they're going to swim fast in this first cycle, because their training loads increase so much," he said.
"The only concern for them is whether they stand up and race like they're not scared, so it's more of a mental approach. Physiologically, I know where
they are going to be at. The older ones surprised me at how fast they were, still under load, because they did not get much rest."
"They were still hitting PB's under load." Remaining SLSC medal winners at the Youth Cup included:
Thomas Boyd: Silver (100m backstroke, 100m individual medley); Bronze (200m freestyle)
Nina Kucheran: Silver (1500m freestyle, 200m breaststroke); Bronze (400m individual medley)
Hannah Nordquist: Gold (100m breaststroke); Bronze (200m breaststroke)
Martine Nyhof: Bronze (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle)
Ryllie Tryon: Silver (100m backstroke)
Everett Smith: Bronze (200m individual medley)
Ali Bertrim: Bronze (100m butterfly)