Go jump in the pool, say White Rapids

Come on in – the water’s fine!

That could well be the rallying cry from members of the Nanaimo White Rapids swim club these days. The summer club is gearing up for another season of recreational and competitive swimming, with a registration session happening tomorrow.

Originally formed in 1966, the White Rapids club has a long tradition of providing top-notch swimming instruction in our city. The club is a member of the Vancouver Island Region of the British Columbia Summer Swim Association. Members who wish to can take advantage of competitive training and meets from May through August. But recreational swimmers are welcome as well, with an emphasis on personal improvement rather than winning. Physical and mental development is fostered, along with the cultivation of friendships through a shared fun experience.

This is reflected in the White Rapids mission statement, which states that the club “provides coaching and organizational support for both recreational and competitive swimming and water polo. This family-based youth swim club fosters social and skill development focusing on each athlete’s personal best, in a safe and fun community-based program.”

Home base for the summer swim club is in Bowen Park. The White Rapids primarily use the Bowen Park Kin Pool in a co-management arrangement with the City of Nanaimo. It’s an outdoor pool in a beautiful park setting. And yes, it’s a heated pool!

Heading up the White Rapids executive again this year is returning president Russ Der. Don Goodman is the vice-president, Terry Rogers is the treasurer and Diane McGonigle is the club secretary. Registrar for the swim club is Diane Goodman and past president is Kevin Bourgeois. Others on the active board of directors are Joanne Kossey, Amy Nowicki, Val Thomas, Leah Johnson, Lynn Tissington, Rhina Todd, Bernie Taekema and Lisa Marshall.

The club boast a strong group of coaches, led by head coach Gareth Saunders and assistant head coach Ian Mattock. Senior coaches are Byron Trajan, Michelle Lorusso and Courtney Poulin, with junior coaches being Moira Brown and Vanessa Yates. Developmental coaches are Ana Cross, Catherine Carriere Der and Haley Price. It’s a compliment to the club’s program to note that almost all the coaches are former White Rapids swimmers.

Among a number of important events scheduled for the upcoming season, the club will holding a general meeting for members on May 22, from 6-7:15 p.m. in the Bowen Park activity centre, at which time plans for the season will be discussed.

In the pool the White Rapids will hold its annual Blue and White Meet on May 26. This will provide an opportunity for swimmers, especially newer ones, to experience an organized meet. Another important meet hosted by the club will be at the Kin Pool on June 29-July 1 which will include Canada Day celebrations.

At the competitive level, the White Rapids had an excellent season last year, finishing in the top 10 at provincials. This year, the BCSSA provincial championships will be hosted by the Vancouver Island Region. Club president Russ Der sends word that the week-long event will take place at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre and will feature approximately 1,000 athletes competing in the four aquatic disciplines of speed swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo. The White Rapids will be the host club and members are already looking forward to what promises to be a fantastic week. If you are interested in assisting with sponsorship for the event, contact Der at

As for the club registration session, that takes place tomorrow (April 29) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Bowen Park Kin Pool. Children of all ages are welcome. There is no minimum age, but a member needs to be able to swim a width of the pool, unassisted, using a recognizable stroke. Fees are $325 for the first swimmer in a family, $300 for the second swimmer and a $25 discount for each additional sibling. Registrants are asked to bring a birth certificate. Swimmers can also register the week of April 30-May 4, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the Kin Pool.

For more information on the Nanaimo White Rapids or their programs, call 250-753-8176.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.

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