BY IAN THORPE
Even during a challenging year of pandemic, two well-known Nanaimo clubs have allowed local youths to stay active and improve their swimming skills.
The Nanaimo Riptides swim team, which runs a competitive season mainly during winter and spring, has managed a very successful season operating out of the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. A number of meets have been held virtually and provincials are still upcoming. We’ll have more details on the Riptides in a future column.
This week, though, we focus on the start of the outdoor swim season which begins in the next couple of weeks. The Nanaimo White Rapids summer swim club is excited to be back at the Kin Pool in Bowen Park to mark the club’s 55th anniversary, even though things may look slightly different this year due to safety considerations.
Heading up the executive of the White Rapids is president Kate Palmer, assisted by vice-president Chris Boulding. Mike Goerzen, Dave Kirk, Mary Blackburn, Renay Deschambault and Carly Williams are other directors.
The club is fortunate to have a large coaching staff, led by head coach Lee Vanden Ham and assistant Em McGibbon. Senior coaches are Ava Johnson and Finn Bodnar, junior coaches are Kayley Morch, Sophie Peer, Arada Barclay, Nyah DePol and Ella Page and development coaches are Isabella Richards, Jack Mace, Jasmine Schellinck, Isabelle Parsons and Aia Segal.
NWRSC is for children of all ages, as well as young adults.
With a COVID-19 safety plan firmly in place, registration has been happening during recent weeks for both returning members and new swimmers to the club. For all age groups there will be strict coach/swimmer maximum ratios and limits on total number of swimmers in the pool, as well as in each lane.
The official season runs from May 1 to Sept. 30 for most groups. A separate partial season for open category swimmers who also compete during the winter season will get underway on June 14. To this point, 175 young swimmers have already registered for the year ahead. Assessments must be completed for all new swimmers and for all swimmers aged 8 and under who did not participate in fall or winter maintenance swim programs. Swimmers must demonstrate that they can competently swim 15 metres, unassisted, using a recognizable stroke. The assessments will be held at the Kin Pool on May 1-2, from 10 a.m. until noon both days.
To assist swimmers and their parents in knowing what to expect this year, the club has produced an impressive 32-page season plan, an extensive guide to how the club will operate, available on the NWRSC website. It mentions that the club is looking at hosting different kinds of club swim meets this season and possibly virtual meets with other clubs. This will be highly dependent upon changing public health orders and specific safety plans will be created to comply with any such orders.
The White Rapids operate the Kin Pool each summer in a co-management agreement with the City of Nanaimo. In addition to the youth swim club, it oversees pool rentals and public events at the site. While school lessons will not be offered this year, rentals for school events can be booked. As well, it is hoped that adult swim sessions will also be able to proceed. Co-ordinating all pool rentals is Kin Pool manager Amanda Watkins.
Information on public rentals, swim club registration, practice schedules, contact information and all details related to the White Rapids are available online.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.