The Red Deer Marlins Swim Club held their first swim meet of the season at the Michener Centre earlier this month. This is the Club’s first meet this season, after losing the majority of their veteran swimmers from last season.
“A good portion of those kids were our leaders and very strong swimmers,” Club President Amanda Halford said. “We are down in numbers this year, so we seem to be in a rebuilding year.”
Halford and the rest of the Marlins’ instructional team are hoping that some of their younger swimmers will grow as leaders on a swifter curve then what is usually expected.
“We have quite a few strong 11, 12 and 13-year-olds that we hope will carry us through the next three or four years but it is pretty young for 12-year-olds to be a leader,” Halford said. “There will be a bit of transition time. Hopefully they will take that lead role that some of our seniors normally would have taken.”
Results from the swim meet suggest these young swimmers are in fact ready to take on a larger role with 201 out of 281 swims being best individual times.
“After the weekend, we are actually sitting number one in the province,” Halford said. “I think we have more depth then we thought we did after losing those upper end swimmers. We won the backstrokes, we won the breaststrokes – so we have multiple stroke expertise across the age groups as opposed to just one really good swimmer per age group.”
Halford credits her swimmers success to having, “Such great mentorship the past three to four years.
“We had such great leaders for so many years who were breaking provincial records, but they were also really good with our younger kids, bringing them up, and making them feel like they are important,” she said. “We saw that this weekend with our 12-year-olds making sure the eight and nine-year-olds felt like part of the team. They helped them know where they were supposed to be and what stroke they were supposed to be doing.”
Halford explained the biggest test of the Marlins season will be the provincials championship in August.
“Our region is typically not strong, only because of the pool facilities available within the region and the size of our cities in the area,” she added.
Despite facility limitations, Halford is confident in the Marlin’s development model.
“My son couldn’t swim five metres when he stated and by the end of August he could swim a mile – which is 64 lengths of the pool,” she said. “We are swimming five days per week so I think that repetitive schedule helps kids pick up their development quicker. We also compete every weekend until now until August. The constant competition helps our coaches ensure our kids are ready.”