With 85% personal best times, Red Deer Catalina swimmers represented Red Deer well bringing home nine medals. Eighteen Red Deer Catalina swimmers attended the 2012 Team Aquatic Supplies Age Group Trials Feb. 24-26 in Edmonton.
Head Coach of the Red Deer Catalina Swim Club, Mandi Smith said her team does well individually but they’re success is team-focused. “I think our kids work really well together as a group. They work really well together as a team. They see their successes as team successes. They get really excited for each other and they build off each other.”
Smith added she has a good crop of athletes to work with. “I’ve worked with these kids, some of them for seven years now, and they are pretty intense, pretty amazing kids. A lot of them are on the honour roll at their school and a lot of them volunteer hours with our swim club. These kids are just really well rounded athletes and individuals for our community.”
The bond between Smith and her teammates is two-way. “I think it’s a mutual respect. I think they know I’m here to help them be what they want to be and they show me the respect, they show their team the respect that they need to make sure they get the opportunities they need, to achieve their goals.”
When the under 14’s head to Calgary March 9-11 for provincials, Smith expects nothing but the best from her swimmers. They’re swimming in the so-called ‘big city’, and the big clubs may have an intimidation factor, but there is no room for intimidation according to the Swim Alberta Age Group coach of the year.
“I don’t work with intimidation. We’re the same if not better than the kids that get to compete and race in these pools on a regular basis. Yes, our facility is a little bit different than what’s available to the bigger clubs and the bigger centres, but our kids are not afraid to race.”
In fact, when it comes to intimidation, Smith thinks the tables have turned.
“They don’t let themselves get scared by the people around them because they’re the ones starting to bring home the medals now, so they’re the ones being intimidating I think.”
And it may be intimidating to see what’s on the horizon for this club. They already have two swimmers who will be on the prospects west tour, with Smith hoping for five more. And both Marshal Parker and Alana Skocdopole will be heading to Olympic trials in Montreal.
Sometimes when it rains it pours, and it may just be pouring medals for the Catalina Swim Club this weekend.