With a new coach and renewed enthusiasm, the Trail Stingrays Swim Club officially dove into a competitive summer swimming season this week.
Rossland resident Samme Beatson moves from the pool to the pool deck as she takes over coaching duties from Ryan Gurney this year.
“I feel really comfortable on the pool deck, because I’ve been teaching already and helping out at the swim club,” said Beatson, a certified swim instructor and level 1 Swim Canada coach.
Beatson swam competitively for the Stingrays since novice, and if she can translate her success in the pool to coaching, the team is in very good hands.
Last year, she won the grand aggregate in virtually every meet and took home three medals, two silver and a bronze, at the Provincial swim meet in Burnaby.
Beatson says she will compete this season as well, but it is no longer her top priority.
“I am hoping that I can get most of my kids to the provincials, and if I go, I hope to do well as well, but my main focus is on the kids this year for sure.”
The Stingray’s coach will concentrate on making her swimmers technically sound, while generating team building to make a cohesive and happy group.
One of her greatest assets is her familiarity with the swimmers and how to get the best out of them.
“I know 90 per cent of the kids,” said Beatson. “I already know what their best stroke is, and what their biggest technical issues are so I can just start helping them right away.”
The Rays have about a month of training before they dial up the pace by hitting eight swim meets in nine weeks with the first one on the starting blocks in Nelson, June 2-3.
The team has the same core of swimmers as last year, and look to duplicate or improve on a season in which they won five of eight meets including their third straight Regional title.
“I think we’re going to do really well this year,” said Beatson. “My major goal for the year is to have everyone swimming with proper technique and then with that is going to come great things, it just follows.”
Assisting Beatson is Cody Flegel of Rossland, who swam competitively at the national level before retiring recently.