Aiden Jeffries and Massimo Dagostini point their names on the record board at the Frank Jameson Community Centre pool. The two boys, along with teammate Shane Valic (not pictured), broke several records from the 1990s at the recent Nanaimo Fall Invitational. (Mike Gregory Photo)

Ladysmith swimmers rewrite history books at Nanaimo Invitational

Records are made to be broken but you don’t need to tell that to three Ladysmith Chemainus Orcas swimmers.

Shane Valic, Aiden Jeffries and Massimo Dagostini proved to be in great early season form at the Nanaimo Fall Invitational and altogether broke five records dating back to the 1990s.

The oldest record to be broken was by Valic who dipped under the 50 m freestyle mark set by Trevor Olson all the way back in 1990.

He had only just returned to swimming this year after a three year break from the sport.

Jeffries, 10, also erased the 50 m freestyle record in his age group as well as the 100 m freestyle, both set by Eric Avis in 1996, and 400 freestyle which belonged to Kyle McLeod.

“I was a little nervous for the swim but I actually ended up doing pretty well and set a best time,” said Jeffries about his 400 m freestyle.

“I wasn’t feeling the best after it either.”

Dagostini, 12, took down the 50 m backstroke record that had stood since 1996.

“That was good – I got a best time,” he said.

“That day I woke up and had a sore leg but I still took time off that race and my 100 m breaststroke.”

A total of 10 Orcas attended the Nanaimo meet, which is a strong turnout for the club.

“I want to say that we’re back on track to where we were at one point,” said Orcas head coach Brandon Gonzales.

“We’ve had a star here or there but as a club as a whole to be able to do that (break multiple records) is pretty impressive.”

Dagostini and Jeffries said they’re happy with the early season success and how far they’ve progressed in

the sport.

“Besides basketball at my school this is the only sport I do,” said Dagostini who only started competing last year and prefers the sprint events.

“When I started swimming my parents were like ‘you looked like a plank of wood’.”

Jeffries adds that he was lucky to have developed a feel for the water early on.

“I feel like I’ve been awarded to be able to swim this fast,” he said. “I caught swimming really fast. I just caught it immediately.”

Registration with the Orcas club is once again up for this season with more children registered than in the previous five years.

“That younger group 10 and under has really started to take off so hopefully that leads to us growing from the bottom up so we can have healthy club,” Gonzales said.

He’s enthusiastic about what that means as more young swimmers grow and develop in the program.

“It’s definitely going in the right direction,” he said. “Working with them for a whole season, now it’s continuing to grow and that’s how we’re going to try and build the success of the club as a whole.”

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