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Kirk gearing up for Junior Nationals

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While the Aquanauts were competing at a regional swim meet in Dryden last weekend, there was one notable exception.

Kim Kirk was here at home resting in preparation for this weekend’s Junior National swim championships in Calgary, where she will compete in the 100m and 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke events.

She is making the trip with five Kenora swimmers (Daphne Armstrong, Katie Balkwill, Gillian Cummine, Jamey Robertson, and Michael Walkoski) and two from Atikokan (Dale Armstrong and Mike McCluskey).

The contingent is being coached by Bruce Fisher of the Kenora Sharks.

It will be the first competition at this elite level for the 16-year-old swimmer but Aquanaut head coach Debbie Murray said she expected Kirk to definitely hold her own there.

"I think she’ll do very well," Murray predicted. "We’ll just have to wait and see how she does but she’s already qualified for the Eastern Cup in Montreal."

Still, Murray is concerned about a shoulder injury that has plagued Kirk leading up to the Junior Nationals.

"She’s been diagnosed with tendinitis in her shoulder, which isn’t uncommon for swimmers, so we’ve had to modify her training," noted Murray.

But Murray said Kirk is just one of several top-notch senior swimmers with the Aquanauts.

Sarah McTavish, 15, Elissa Green, 14, Gavin Paull, 16, and Jeff Plumridge, 15, have joined Kirk in earning berths at the Ontario Winter Games slated March 12-15 in Peterborough.

Brendan Cumming, 15, has been selected as a second alternate.

"There’s only nine boys and nine girls from the region who are going to the Winter Games and we have five, which is great," enthused Murray.

"We’ll be extremely well represented there."

Murray also is excited about the Division III championships in Etobicoke in April. The Aquanauts plan to take 25 swimmers to that one, and she expected them to perform well there, too.

"There’ll be about 800 swimmers there, which can be compared to a provincial meet, and I expect our swimmers will reach finals based on last year’s performances," she noted.

And while the club’s older swimmers have excelled to new heights this season, the younger ones also have continued to improve.

"We had a lot of best times in the pool [in Dryden] and that’s a reflection of these swimmers going to meets throughout the year," said Murray.

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