I am the head coach of the Cold Lake Marlins swim club in northern Alberta. We just hosted our first meet in almost 20 years last week-end. This is because of our new home in the Col J.J. Parr Sport Centre on the Canadian Forces Base. Prior to this facility our pool was no longer up to standard!
My purpose for writing is to toot our horn just a little. The meet was a great success, we had 160 visiting swimmers from Calgary to Fort McMurray. They all swam well for the first meet of the year and also had fun! We are a small club, 46 swimmers of which only 15 are competitive, so to pull of an event like this is a tribute to all the executives and parents.
Part of what made the meet a success is that we wanted to do something different to make the meet stand out, and at this early part of the season to allow the swimmers some team building. So they got to stay in the barracks on base instead of billeting, which was exciting for the swimmers. Then on Saturday we ended the meet a bit early so the swimmers and coaches could get a tour of one of the hangars and see the Canadian Forces jets. Then to top the day off we had a banquet with a guest speaker, the head coach of the Calgary Patriots Tom Ponting, which was extremely motivational and unique for a lot of the swimmers who have never gotten to hear someone like that before. After he was done speaking, the swimmers had a dance.
It was fun and the swimmers also swam fast. My club had 90% best times and I know the other coaches were commenting how well their swimmers were doing.
In closing I would like to make a personal comment that I think swimming needs a few more meets like this, especially in the early stages of short course and long course to allow our swimmer some more time to be kids and young adults. That is, after all, one of the biggest reasons we lose a lot of our talent pool to other sports.