Outdoor swimming pool holds appeal

The Nanaimo White Rapids are ready to hit the pool for another season of recreational and competitive swimming.

Summer fun like it is supposed to be.

That’s the unofficial slogan for the Nanaimo White Rapids, our city’s summer swim club which is ready to hit the pool for another season of recreational and competitive swimming.

The club was formed back in 1966 and has since established a reputation for providing top-notch swimming instruction in an enjoyable atmosphere of camaraderie. Each year, the White Rapids operates from the beginning of May until near the end of August. Headquarters for the club is the heated outdoor Kin Pool in Bowen Park, which the club operates in a co-management arrangement with the City of Nanaimo.

As a member of the B.C. Summer Swim Association, the White Rapids offers training and a series of meets for competitive young swimmers. The coaching staff is impressive. Head coaches for the club this year are Byron Trajan and Michelle Lorusso and senior coaches are Courtenay Poulin, Richard Chisholm and Vanessa Yates. Junior coaches are Hayley Price, Ellen Taekema and Riley Prout-Holm, while developmental coaches are Stephen Moore and Nyree McGonigle.

But recreational swimmers are welcomed as well, with the club placing an emphasis on personal improvement rather than winning. Club objectives are to foster mental as well as physical development and to have swimmers develop friendships that will last a lifetime.

Heading up the White Rapids executive this year is new president Leah Johnson, who takes over from longtime leader Russ Der. Der remains on the executive as past-president, along with vice-president JoAnne Kossey. Sean O’Toole is the treasurer and Diane McGonigle is club secretary. Other directors are Bernie Taekema, Kevin Bourgeois, Don Goodman, Amy Nowicki and registrar Michelle James. She’ll be especially busy this coming weekend, as registration is being held on Saturday (April 26) and Sunday, from noon-2 p.m. each day at Kin Pool. Returning club swimmers are asked to bring the registration form they should have received in the mail.

All new club members are required to bring their birth certificate and care card, as well as a bathing suit and towel in order to demonstrate swimming requirements. The White Rapids program is aimed at children of all ages and there is no minimum age for joining. However, swimmers need to be able to swim a width of the pool unaided, using a recognizable stroke. Cost to join the summer swim club is $325 for the first swimmer from a family and $300 for a second swimmer.

A focus of the White Rapids club this summer will be to not only help young athletes learn and develop their swimming, but also give them great cross-training opportunities which will help strengthen and reduce injury in their winter sports. The club plans to host some multi-sport events such as a Splash and Dash.

Water polo will be offered as well and this year there will be some community drop-in sessions for a small fee. Brad Cioban is running the program, hoping to increase interest and participation in water polo. There will be some drop in synchro sessions with Courtney Poulin for those who would like to try that activity. Also, sets of mini lessons will be offered in July and August.

So, another busy summer swim season is all set to get underway at the Kin Pool.

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

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Thursdays.