Swim clubs from across Central Alberta gathered at the Recreation Centre outdoor pool on the weekend for the annual Red Deer Catalina Freeze or Fry meet.
This year was more freezing than frying, with rainy and cold weather Saturday, and a gloomy day on Sunday.
According to Catalina head coach Scott Wilson, the meet has been running for about 65 years, and is always a great opportunity for the kids to experience a once and a lifetime swimming event.
“This is one of the older pools in the province, outdoor pools anyway. It’s the only outdoor hosted meet for the year round competitive swim clubs. It’s a really unique experience,” Wilson said.
“It’s great for the little guys because it’s a season end meet for a lot of them. They get to swim outside which is very different for most of them.”
Wilson said clubs return year after year because of the fun time they have at the meet and the weekend is always focused on that unique experience.
“Most athletes in any sport, when they’re done, it’s not really the individual races or games, it’s more the experiences around it. It’s being in a tent all weekend with your friends, it’s having your mom or dad waiting at the end of a lane as your shivering with a towel for you,” Wilson said.
“It’s something a little different than normal. It’s something outside of the ordinary and that’s what kids remember. That’s what athletes remember going forward.”
He added that while there’s a lot of fun to be had for the club, some of the older swimmers can also use the meet to benefit them in the future.
“For the older kids, it’s swimming in an environment they may come across in the future. World Championships a few years ago were held outdoors in Rome. If you never experience that before hand it’s something that becomes difficult to overcome because you’re not used to it,” Wilson noted.
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