Local swimmers continue to shine

  • Nov. 14, 2012 4:06 p.m.

Red Deer’s Catalina Swim Club continues to make waves in pools around the area early in the 2012-2013 season posting some very good results in five swim meets over two weeks time, including a solid performance from 46 swimmers in Saskatoon.

“We were just over 80 per cent best times, we broke six or seven club records and Rebecca Smith broke a provincial record already this season so she’s the new 11-12-year-old provincial record holder for 200 IM short course,” said coach Mandi Smith.

That is just a small sample of the medium sized club of the year so it appears these young men and women have not taken their collective foot off the gas pedal when they hit the water.

“They want to show the rest of Alberta that we are one of the big clubs,” she said.

Smith added the formula for the success of the Catalina Club is quite simple — it’s the kids.

“They’re incredible. They enjoy working together, they support each other, each others successes they treat them as their own,” said Smith. “There is not a lot of jealousy, they really support each other and they get really excited for each other.”

There are a few team goals set for the Club including increasing the number of swimmers Catalina sends to nationals in Montreal but reaching the goal has become tougher this year as the qualifying times have gotten faster, said Smith. Catalina has also moved up a notch when it comes to competition.

“As a team we have officially moved into the large team category because we’re over 99 registered athletes in our program,” Smith said. “So we are now competing against Edmonton and Calgary teams for the best in the province.”

This means the 102 swimmers in Red Deer will go head-to-head with clubs sporting more than 400 members and Smith said the goal is to finish the year within the top five large clubs in Alberta.

“These kids are amazing, they’re up for any challenge. They just get excited and we move forward.”

The Club could have stayed a medium-sized team by not taking in more swimmers but Smith said the interest in the Club has grown from about 60 or so members a few years ago.

“It’s hard to say no to the kids that want to take part in the sport so we try to fit kids in where we can,” she said.

If there was a bigger pool for them to train in Catalina could easily get up to the same numbers as those in the bigger centres, said Smith.

“If there was a full-length competition pool we could have access to these kids would not be the underdogs going into meets, we would be on a level playing field.”

Now that would make quite a splash.