The pace at which personal bests and club records are falling to the current crop of Columbia-Shuswap Selkirks swimmers suggests to head coach Barry Healey that he has something special on his hands.
Ethan Skofteby and James Lebuke, who both appeared at this year’s age-group nationals, have taken four seconds off their best times in the 200- metre freestyle since then. Lebuke also took four seconds off his 200-metre Individual Medley time.
In the last two meets alone, Lebuke and Skofteby have shattered 33 club records.
“Now every swim that they’re doing is in the top five in the country,” Healey said.
Skofteby and Lebuke aren’t the only Selkirks improving their times dramatically. Accomplished long-distance swimmer Molly Fogarty was able to drop one minute off her already-impressive 15oo-metre time and Hunter Stewardson broke club records in the 50-, 100- and 200-metre breaststroke.
Para-swimmer Maggie Manning has also been selected to represent Canada at a para-swimming world series event in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Spurred on by the example of the club’s highest achievers, the number of young swimmers joining the Selkirks is growing. Membership in the I Can Swim program, which is intended to give kids five to 12 years old an opportunity to get started with competitive swimming, has more than doubled over the past year. There are almost 60 kids in the club now, up from less than 40 when Healey started with the Selkirks.
Some of those young swimmers will have an opportunity to compete at home as Salmon Arm will be hosting the Winter Regional A Championships in February and the Spring Regional A Championships in May.
Healey estimates each meet will bring in more than 200 swimmers.
Healey is also in discussions to bring the B.C. Masters Open Water Provincials to Salmon Arm next August.
Salmon Arm successfully hosted the Open-Water BC Championships on July 10.
The Selkirks are back in the pool for a three-day meet next weekend in Kamloops.