Medals won't matter to Kayla Korolek.
When she leaps off the starting blocks for her various events at the Swim B.C. short course provincial championships, she won't have first-, second- or third-place finishes in mind. Instead, the 13-year-old member of the Prince George Barracudas will be targeting new personal records. If she can go faster than she ever has before in all of her swims, she'll consider her first-ever appearance at provincials a smashing success.
"I'd like to get all best times," Korolek said.
"There will be lots of really fast swimmers who have qualified for age group nationals so I'm not going to be expecting anything big like a medal. If I get personal-bests, I'll be happier."
The championships start today in Victoria and will run through Sunday.
Korolek qualified for the B.C. meet in the 200-metre breaststroke when she broke the three-minute barrier in the event a couple months ago in Kamloops. Korolek's clocking was two minutes 58 seconds, which stands as her current PB. At provincials, she'll be shooting for something around 2:56.
"I'll need strong underwater pullouts, fast and proper turns, strong kicking and good, even pulls," she said. "I need to keep my head down too. I always keep my head up when I'm gliding."
At provincials, Korolek will also be in the water for the 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley.
Making it to the B.C. finals has been a long-standing goal for Korolek and she has worked tremendously hard in the past year to achieve it. She recently moved into the Barracudas' top competitive group and that means she practices up to six days per week under the guidance of head coach Jerzy Partyka.
Previously, Korolek received her training tips from assistant coach Jason Smith.
"She was with me up until just after Christmas," Smith said. "Now she's swimming with Jerzy all the time and she's doing very well. She's always a positive kid, always has a smile, and she works.
"[At provincials], Jerzy and I would like to see her improve on the skills that she works on every day. It would be nice if she can go 100 per cent best times. If she makes finals, bonus. If she doesn't, that's OK."
Three other Barracudas athletes -- including Korolek's 11-year-old sister Jenna -- will also be competing at the short course provincials for the first time. The remaining two are 14-year-old Gareth Lamb and 10-year-old Mackenzie Lewington.
Jenna Korolek qualified in the 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke and 200m backstroke and will also do the 100m backstroke and 200m IM.
Lamb, meanwhile, met the standards in the 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke and Lewington made the grade in the 200m breaststroke. As well, he'll compete in the 200m backstroke, 200m butterfly, 200m IM and 400m IM.
In total, 19 Barracudas members will be in action. For some -- like Harrison Lagzdin, Patricia Fortier, Haley Black, Danica Ludlow and Sterling King -- provincials will serve as a tune-up for senior nationals, April 3-6 back in Victoria.