The Red Deer Marlins Swim Club is recently sent 12-year-olds Chloe Becher and Owen Halford to join the Alberta Summer Swimming Associations All Star team to compete in Edmonton at the Summer Championships.
The Marlin swimmers, who compete in the summer, were up against swim clubs that compete year-round throughout the province.
Marlins’ President Amanda Halford was proud with the way they competed; with Owen receiving a silver medal and Becher finishing with a best time.
“Owen won the silver medal in the boys 13 and under 50 metre breaststroke, fifth in the 100 metre breast and ninth in the 200 metre breast,” Amanda said. Owen was the number one overall 12-year-old breaststroker province-wide at the event. He broke all three ASSA All Star provincial records and the Marlins in house club records. Owen also qualified his Swim Canada Top 10 Youth Recognition Time Standard in his 100m breast.
“Chloe came eighth in her 50 metre back, 19th in the 200 metres back.”
Being able to be around some of the best pool athletes in the province was invaluable to the young Red Deer swimmers.
“It was really something,” Becher said. “I learned a whole lot about winter club and that whole other competitive level of swimming. I really enjoyed it. It really sets the bar. I’ve always loved watching other people swim and seeing all the different ways to be successful.
“Being there and watching the finals really boosted my confidence level. I’m thinking of moving to winter club one day and becoming what they all are.”
Owen added he thought it was a good experience.
“It leads you in to being a year-round swimmer and attending big competitions. It was pretty crazy watching them swim. I got to meet some people who are on Junior Olympic teams and the meet kind of shows you what you have to do to get that that level,” he said.
Becher noted she got a taste of the dedication it takes to being a competitive swimmer at higher levels.
“I learned so much from my coaching and teammates and I met so many great people. It showed me that winter club is just as great as summer club and one day it will really be something I will do,” she said.
Owen added, “It encourages me to make myself better and it also can show how summer club swimmers can be just as good as kids who swim the whole year round.”
Becher and Owen both noted they had to adjust considering that many of the athletes are able to swim in a 50m pool as opposed to the 25m pools available in Red Deer.
“I usually look for the walls in my backstroke. I went my fastest time but I had to maintain the mindset of that you can’t stop,” Becher said. “My coach told me to keep pushing and that is how I made that time as fast as I did.”
“In a long-course pool, it definitely pushes you,” Owen said. “You are used to finding that wall and then going again. The adrenaline rush you get from competing with good swimmers pushes you past that.
“I want to keep improving my times and getting better. Hopefully one day I will make it to nationals or even higher.”
“It was such a great experience,” Becher said. “I met so many people that I still stay in contact with and I would like to thank my coach and all the wonderful people who supported me through it.”