The Shuswap Selkirks Swim Club kicked off the season on a high note at its first meet of the season in Penticton.
Since the Selkirks club opened its doors to the community by holding a free swim camp in September, it has seen excellent growth. Normally the club starts the season with about 30 swimmers but already has 60 members and hopes to reach 70 or more.
Much of the growth has come in the I Can Swim and I Can Swim Fast program, which offers young swimmers the chance to learn new skills and get awards. This program has grown from six swimmers three years ago to more than 40 in 2018.
Coach Barry Healey says the growth and retention are due to the fact the club’s swimmers in many age groups have been performing at a high standard for the past two years.
This year will see swimmers travel to Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver and as far as Florida for competitions.
After a six-week break for the top swimmers in the Selkirks, they returned to training and racing for the KISU Swim Meet in Penticton Oct. 12 to 14.
The competition was broken up into three days of swimming, with total times added up and high point winners and medal winners selected at the end of the meet.
Over the weekend, some of the swimmers entered 13 events on top of their warm-ups.
After three days of swimming, racing and meeting new and old friends, the team returned home happy and proud of the efforts they put in. The young swimmers, Mara Hoffort (12), Oliva Lega (12), George Massey (13) and Nathan Davis Lent (14) gave amazing performances in their first step up to the higher level meets.
Most of the younger group had not swum any long-distance events before this meet. During the meet the group produced more than 30 personal best times, an excellent start to their season.
The senior group of Hunter Stewardson (15), Molly Fogarty (15), James Lebuke (16) and Ethan Skoftbey (15) were also in fine form. After having a brilliant summer season, the bar has been raised even higher for this group, seeing as all four of these Selkirks were ranked among the top 20 swimmers in Canada for their age groups.
All these athletes are self-motivated and Healey thinks this small team of swimmers are some of the best age-group swimmers he has worked with in a long time.
At the end of the KISU meet in Penticton, these senior age-group swimmers saw 23 personal best times, and many of these time were new club records
In total, they walked away from the competition with six gold, 12 silver and five bronze medals, with Fogarty, Skofteby and Lebuke winning awards for high point counts at the meet.
The 2018- 2019 season looks bright for the club. Lebuke has been chosen for a swim camp in Florida in February with the national team. Stewardson and Skofteby have been selected for Swim BC camps and teams, and Fogarty starts visiting universities in the U.S. in November that would like her to join their varsity teams.
Submitted by Barry Healey