The Holy Trinity Titans are golden once again.
The largest swim team the school has ever produced (36 members) was at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford this month for the Norfolk/Brant County High School Championships where they won a second straight overall title.
Facing groups from W.R. MacDonald, Brantford Collegiate, North Park, St. John’s College, Assumption College, and Simcoe Composite, the Titans racked up 1134 points, well ahead of second place Brantford Collegiate with 887.
“I’m not as competitive as some of the others, I’m happy when they all go out and do their best and the results were fantastic,” said Carla Aitken, who coaches the team alongside Josh Reid. “My goal is never to win but have the students set goals for themselves and see progress.”
In total, the Titans accumulated 22 first place finishes across all divisions, including 18 competitors who have qualified for the CWOSSA Swim Championships, which take place in Wilmot on Feb. 20. Holy Trinity also managed to qualify 12 different relay teams for the next level, the most they possibly could.
Aitken said there’s no secret to Holy Trinity’s recent success – it comes with the work put in when few others are watching.
“I think the commitment this year has been higher than any other,” she said. “I just updated our practice attendance – the kids are coming to practice and they seem more committed to progress and that’s huge. We are the biggest team which absolutely helps – quantity is always a good thing when you’re looking at getting overall top team scores. Individually they also have to be contributing. This has been our best year.”
Possibly the best performance of the day came from Grade 10 student Kyla Twinem. After already qualifying for CWOSSA with the junior girls relay team and in the junior 100m individual medley and 50m breaststroke, Twinem competed as a senior in the 100m breaststroke and set the district record with a time of 1:30.37s. The mark was nearly 18 seconds ahead of the previous record.
The day was also favourable to Xander Zona, who set a personal best in the senior boys 100m freestyle and qualified for CWOSSA in two individual races and as part of two relays.
“When you go to swim you have to do your best,” said Zona. “You’re not really too concerned if you win or lose as long as you’re doing better than you did last year. Swimming is a personal sport but it’s a conglomerate – you all work together as a team.”
Zona said that when a fellow member of the Titans does well it brings up the entire group.
“Absolutely,” began the Waterford native. “When your best friend just killed a race or got first and they’re all excited and hyped up, they hype you up too.”
Some members of the Titans, like Zona for instance, have been with the club for a number of years and act as student-coaches for the newcomers.
“I love that swimming is all grades working together and at varying abilities,” said Aitken. “We have a diverse group of students but I like that sometimes there’s cross-coaching – it’s not just Josh and I on the deck coaching but we also have students coaching the new students in the pool. For me, to see that building of community has been amazing and that’s paid off because kids want to come to practice and want to try hard, not just for themselves but for the team.”
Members of Simcoe Composite returned to the competition following a one-year hiatus. SCS was led by Gordon Shortt, who took home two district records (200m individual medley and 100m freestyle), while sister Emma Shortt qualified for CWOSSA in the 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle. The Sabres registered seven first-place finishes and have six swimmers headed to CWOSSA.