Jasper Kottrell, left, helps Cooper McEachen race 25 metres at the Nanaimo Riptides’ Blue and Gold Night meet Dec. 12 at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Jasper Kottrell, left, helps Cooper McEachen race 25 metres at the Nanaimo Riptides’ Blue and Gold Night meet Dec. 12 at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo swimmers show their team spirit at Blue and Gold Night meet

Nanaimo Riptides co-operate at team-building event

Nanaimo Riptides could all take pride in their team colours at Blue and Gold Night.

Last Wednesday, Dec. 12, the swim team held its fall event intended to give the club’s youngest swimmers their first sampling of a swim meet. For some of the youngest age groups, it was their first time in the deep end of the pool and their first taste of competition. The littlest swimmers had help from older club members, who swam alongside them in their lanes.

“The big kids help the little kids out because they’ve never swam in this [end],” said Adriana Prlic, president of the Nanaimo Riptides Swim Team. “It’s a fun, team-building event. This is kind of their introduction to a swim meet, and same for the parents.”

The Riptides’ I Can Swim program is for kids five years old and up. There are three program intakes per year, in October, January and April, and each ends with a Blue and Gold Night.

Claire Boudrot was one of the club’s competitive swimmers helping out last Wednesday. She said she recalls swimming in her first Blue and Gold Night meet and remembers how the water was colder, graduating from the warmer kids’ pool. She said the events are good for team-building.

“It gives the younger kids a chance to race and they look up to the older kids,” Boudrot said.

Veronica Hall, another one of the club’s competitive-stream swimmers, said there’s great atmosphere at the pool for Blue and Gold Night.

“We have a lot of team spirit. We’re all happy, cheering on the side of the pool. It’s a fun day,” she said.

Hall said she enjoys being out there helping the little kids and said the youngsters have a lot of potential.

“They’re a lot faster than I am,” she joked.

Prlic said the registration numbers were great for the fall but there’s plenty of room for I Can Swim kids for the upcoming winter session. She said the coaches are young and dynamic and engage the children and feedback has been positive.

“We’re really trying to focus more on stroke technique, but also we’re trying to make it fun for the kids…” Prlic said. “The idea is to get them involved into swimming and then eventually they want to move into competitive if it’s something that they like.”

For more information, visit www.nanaimoriptides.com.


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