Head coach of the Tsunami Swim Team, Veronique Jager is passionate about encouraging youth to develop lifelong skills and wants to see more kids in the water at Echo Pool.
Whether for fun or for more serious competition, swimming is good to learn at any age, says Jager.
The local club currently offers three programs. The Fundamentals get kids learning the basics of how to swim in the training pool. From there, they can move up to SwimFit in the main pool.
“They don’t compete in SwimFit so it is good for cross training or doing as an activity,” Jager said. “The aim is to get them competing.”
The Junior competitors are just getting their feet wet to compete while the seniors are at a more advanced level.
“It is their main sport and they are committed,” Jager said.
Jager said the competitive swimmers receive more than just high quality training. Since they train and attend meets together, they form friendships and gain social skills with their teammates and competitors from other Island communities.
“They meet so many new friends,” she said. “Our local kids are now having sleepovers with kids from other teams and are hanging out together.”
Competitive levels require more commitment and dedication as athletes are expected to go to most meets. They have support though, and Jager said most families and parents get involved in the sport. It takes more hands to help with all of the fundraisers, too, Jager said.
“At this level, kids understand why they are doing certain things in the water and what skills they can use to become better at meets,” she said. “It encourages kids to become more self-motivated.”
Anyone can join the club and registrations are accepted year-round. Although the season started in the third week of September, swimmers can sign up and start at any time. Coaching is close to individual training because needs are catered to each individual.
“A child gets to do what he can,” Jager said. “If you join in February and others have been in for six months already, it’s the same thing. You start off with different expectations and don’t have to do as much.”