In Search of Our Inner Animals


The Coveted Animal Trophies

The Coveted Animal Trophies

The 13th annual Canby Animal Meet (December 18)brought out some fierce swimming this year, as always!  This meet is a lot of fun, and is definitely unique.  Regardless of age group, swimmers channel their inner animal into one of three categories: Sprint Animal, Middle Animal or Grand Animal.  Each category requires three events to be swum: an IM event, a butterfly event and a distance freestyle event.  Placing is determined by the cumulative time of all three events.

The Sprint Animals go for it in the 100 IM, 50 fly and 200 free.  Middle Animals take a swing at the 200 IM, 100 fly and 500 free.  The Grand Animals try to survive the 400 IM, 200 fly and 1000 free.  Some swimmers do pick and choose their favorite events only, but in order to be eligible for the coveted Gargoyle trophies, the Animal category combo must be completed.

This meet is a favorite of mine because of how intimate and friendly it feels and also because there is usually some really great racing to be had.  This year was no exception.

Tom Phipps, Middle Animal competitor, showing off his inner Animal

Tom Phipps, Middle Animal competitor, showing off his inner Animal

Let’s go on to the results!  Starting with the women, Francie Hafner deftly nabbed the title of Sprint Animal.  She was so fast that no one even got a photo of her!  Emily Melina successfully defended her Middle Animal title and was within 1 second of her cumulative time from 2015.  Talk about consistency!  Mattie Fowler also won her second consecutive Gargoyle trophy in the Grand Animal category.  Great swimming, ladies!  Congratulations to you animals.

Mattie Fowler (Grand Animal) and Emily Melina (Middle Animal)

Mattie Fowler (Grand Animal) and Emily Melina (Middle Animal)

In the men’s results, after bringing home a Gargoyle last year in the Sprint Animal category, Adam Arzner moved up to the Middle Animal category this year to make room for his older brother Nicholas Arzner in the Sprint Animal.  The brothers both managed to bring home Gargoyles this year, but it was no easy task, especially for Adam in the Middle Animal category where he was up against defending Middle Animal champion Matthew Marceau and previous (2013 & 2014) Middle Animal champion Scot Sullivan.  This three-way race was really fun to watch, with only a few seconds separating 1st and 3rd place in all events.  Adam came out on top, but only by a little over 5 seconds!  And Nicholas took care of business in the Sprint Animal category, winning the title.

In the Grand Animal category, it was a rematch of 2015 between Robbert Van Andel, Matt Miller and Grant Aldred.  In 2015, Robbert, a five-time Grand Animal Champion, had edged out 2014 defending champ Matt by about 2.6 seconds.  This year Matt managed to redeem himself and come out with the Grand Animal title.

Adam Arzner (Middle Animal), Nicholas Arzner (Sprint Animal) and Matt Miller (Grand Animal)

Adam Arzner (Middle Animal), Nicholas Arzner (Sprint Animal) and Matt Miller (Grand Animal)

If you’ve never been to this meet before, be sure to add it to your swim calendar for 2017.  It historically takes place the weekend before Christmas, and it is a really fun and unique event.  Who doesn’t want a Gargoyle trophy?  Growl ya’ later!

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