Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter


The Strathmore Silver Sharks Swim Club is waist deep in another successful season, highlighted by three swimmers’ efforts reaching the provincial championships, with an eye on the national pool.
Jessica Mantik, Madison Laycraft and Elle Sauve are set for the Swim Alberta Spring Championships, running March 17 to 19 in Edmonton.
The Sharks are halfway through their season, which kicked off in October and ends in July after another provincial meet.
“These three swimmers are very dedicated and work very hard,” said Sharks head coach Jen Mertz. “They all have a great shot at advancing to the western meet and maybe even nationals.”
Laycraft, 15, is the longest tenured swimmer out of the three, competing with the Sharks since she was six years old.
A sprinter, Laycraft’s best discipline is the backstroke, but she is continuing to explore and work on the three other strokes.
Mantik is in her third season of competition with the Sharks and her fourth overall. Also a strong sprinter, Mantik will be competing in all four disciplines in Edmonton.
“She has made leaps and bounds of improvements since she joined our program,” said Mertz. “Nobody would be shocked if she turned in some winning time this weekend. Both Madison and Jessica have put in a lot of work outside of the pool [with] dryland training as they try and pull off some national qualifying times.”
The Edmonton swim meet isn’t like minor hockey provincials. Advancing to westerns and nationals all depends on qualifying times. With time standards for each age group and race length, the time of a swimmer’s race determines whether or not he or she advances to the next level. Times in the athlete’s heats still matter, as they advance within the competition, earning points towards medals and ribbons.
Sauve, 12, has leaned on her athletic prowess to propel her in the pool. Away from the pool, Sauve plays basketball, ringette and baseball; she’s open to any sport.
“She is a really strong swimmer,” said Mertz. “Her strong arms and legs really help her excel at the butterfly and that’s directly related to her athletic ability from all the different sports she plays.”
During the Southern Alberta Provincials Feb. 25-26 at the Repsol Sport Centre in Calgary, Sauve placed higher than any Shark, when she finished sixth in the 50-metre butterfly, with a time of 33.37 seconds.