Everyone back in the pool!
Outdoor pools might be closing up shop now that the summer is all but over, but the indoor swim season is just getting under way.
The Brandon Bluefins swim team, under the direction of head coach Barb Faye, were back in the pool Monday (Sept. 10), working on their strokes, breathing, turns, and everything else that goes into competitive swimming.
“We had 120 swimmers last year, so this year we’re hoping to get at least 100,” said Faye. “Registration is still open, so we’re expecting more to come in.
“In fact, you can register at any time of the year.”
Faye said athletes who make great swimmers – especially at the younger ages – are well-rounded youth who like to be involved in several activities.
“Most of my kids are involved in other sports, so it’s not all a total focus on swimming,” she said. “They have some diversity and that seems to help them. We don’t want them to really specialize that early.”
She adds competitive swimming is a fantastic sport that helps build skills which reach well beyond the swim tank.
“I think it gives them life-long skills,” said Faye. “They learn time-management skills, they make lots of friends they keep forever, and it gives them routine and structure.”
The Bluefins house young swimmers of pretty much all ages – from the senior 18-year-olds on the team to those as young as eight or nine. The older swimmers practice more often than the younger ones, some of whom are still learning their strokes (freestyle/front crawl, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke).
With so many swimmers at so many different ages and skill levels, the Bluefins require plenty of coaches on the deck at the Sportsplex – upwards of 10 by Faye’s count.
Faye herself works with the older and more elite swimmers, some of who are strong enough to move on past the provincial level and enter the Man-Sask championships – which gathers the strongest swimmers from Manitoba and Saskatchewan who meet a certain time threshold.
“Man-Sask is the top level we’ve had swimmers move on to for the past couple of years. We did have a couple of kids who went to Westerns, but once they get to that level, they kind of have to leave here. We can’t offer them the amount of full-time training and dry land that goes with it,” Faye said, adding they have had some swimmers relocate to Winnipeg for training, both with the University of Manitoba Bisons and the Manta Swim Team.
The majority of the swim season centers around practice, with various meets hosted by swim teams throughout the year. The season starts with short-course races, where the pool is set at a 50-metre length. In the spring, it switches to long-course, 100-meter races.
The Bluefins host two events annually. Their short-course race will take place Nov. 3 and 4, while their long-course race will be held in April. Brandon was also chosen to host this year’s short-course provincial championships in February, in part because of ongoing repairs taking place at the Pan Am Pool in Winnipeg.
If you want more information about the Brandon Bluefins swim team programming, check out their Facebook page or send them an email at email@example.com.