he 2022 ManSask winter provincial championships took place this past week in Winnipeg, with many Manitobans looking to do their province proud.
The four-day meet consisted of a variety of events and produced many great races and many great times from some Manitoban swimmers.
One swimmer that had an outstanding weekend was 17-year-old Brayden Stacey.
Stacey had many great performances throughout the meet, the most notable being his first-place finish in the boys 16 and over 100 LC metre backstroke and his second-place finish in the boys 16 and over 200 LC metre backstroke. On his fourth and final day, Stacey came up with another first-place finish in the boys 16 and over 50 LC metre butterfly.
Not only did Stacey perform well in the individual events, but his Bison teammates did as well.
A group of four, including Stacey, finished second in the boys 16 and over 200 LC metre freestyle relay and first place in boys 16 and over 400 LC metre provincial relay. A great accomplishment for Stacey and the team as a whole.
Many current university team members had strong performances. Georgia Pengilly finished first in the girls 15 and over 50 LC metre backstroke. In the women’s 100-metre backstroke, Kelsey Wog beat her competition by more than five seconds to claim first. Carson Beggs finished first in the boys 16 and over 100 LC metre breaststroke, also outswimming his competition. Rhade Kostelnyk was the final Bison to triumph on Sunday. He turned in a time of 30.46 seconds to place first in the boys 16 and over 50 LC metre breaststroke.
“Overall, we had a great weekend as a group,” Stacey said.
“We were extremely prepared and were ready for anything that came in our way. As you can see, we placed well throughout the weekend and I think that is mainly because of our compete level. We competed hard and it ended up paying off.”
Stacey emphasized the importance of effort and of coming properly prepared to events like this one.
“I compete hard because I always want to win,” he said.
“With that being said, preparation is also key. A big part of my swimming is preparing and getting ready mentally and physically.”
Preparation is key according to Stacey, but what does that look like? Overall, it is pretty simple and you just have to stay focused.
“A meet is all about preparation and that is what I do,” Stacey said.
“Get everything in order [and] get up early and eat some breakfast. Once we get to the pool, we get a lay of the land and just visualize mentally and prepare physically for a great swim.”
No matter how physically fit or athletically gifted you are, it is extremely important to master the mental side of the game as well. By doing this and competing alongside his Bison swimming teammates, Stacey has hopefully caught the eyes of some universities for his future.
“I would love to swim at a university level,” Stacey said.
“Right now I am mainly focused on training and competing with my great group of swimmers, but the chance to compete at a higher level is always in the back of my mind.”
With Stacey swimming the way that he has, it would be no surprise for him to move on to compete at a higher level. Maybe one day the Bisons will be calling his phone for him to join the university team full time.
The University of Manitoba swimming team is set to compete at the the U Sports national championships held March 24 to 26 in Quebec City, Que.