Swimming is a lifelong sport enjoyed by many, from new learners to seasoned competitors.
Last weekend, the Campbell River Killer Whales (CRKW) proved this fact by competing at two different meets – one in Campbell River for school-aged athletes, and one in Nanaimo for the adults.
CRKW hosted 165 swimmers from seven different clubs at Strathcona Gardens on Sunday for the annual Winter Classic meet, with athletes travelling from as far as Duncan to compete. While Qualicum Beach’s Ravensong Aquatic Club dominated the men’s side, CRKW’s outstanding women’s team tabulated enough points for the hometown club to win the meet.
Coaches Sasha Jacobs and Amy Johnston agree that home meets like the Winter Classic are a great opportunity for their swimmers to bond over a common goal. The two coaches lead CRKW’s youngest competitive groups, Mini Whale White.
“Relays are great for bonding. Our swimmers don’t all train together, so swimming a relay with kids from other training groups is a good opportunity for them to get to know each other,” says Jacobs.
“I had three swimmers who actually stepped up and swam in relays with older kids so that everyone got a chance to do one,” says Johnston, “and three of my other athletes were competing for the first time ever, and they did a great job!”
Kenzie McArthur, Rueben Vose, and Jaxson Skene – aged 7, 8, and 9, respectively – were the athletes challenged to swim on more than one relay. In the sport of swimming, this is a rare occurrence. Skene actually stepped up to swim with the senior boys’ relay, competing alongside 16 year olds in the 200 metre freestyle relay at the start of the meet. Moriah Scott, Layla Thompson, and Myra Bailey were the first-time competitors coached by Amy Johnston.
It wasn’t just CRKW’s young athletes who were competing for the first time. In Nanaimo, their Masters swimmers competed in the annual Ebbtides swim meet. Peter Hall competed for the first time in years and remarked that the meet was “a great opportunity to learn more about [his] teammates.” Carla Valentine, Sandra Milligan, and Barbara Polehoykie competed alongside Hall, making for one of CRKW’s largest competing Masters teams in recent years.
If you are interested in learning more about CRKW, visit www.crkw.ca or drop by Strathcona Gardens on Tuesday, Dec. 12 between 4 and 6 p.m. Programs are available for individuals aged four years to 104 years.