Red Deer Marlins Summer Swim Club president Amanda Halford has seen it all.
While the club splashes into their 45th season of swimming on Monday, Halford has been there through thick and thin as a swimmer to watching her own kids work through the 16-week summer season.
“May 1st always has that thing to it. Now that my kids are swimming, spring time is here once they hit the water,” she said.
The club currently has 78 swimmers going into 2017 season, and the club president explained that number has dropped from previous years but the lower participation numbers aren’t necessarily a bad sign.
“We’re down considerably. We have fed a lot of kids to the Catalina club over the last two years. When they get between ages 12-14, if they’ve chosen that swimming is the only thing for them, they start to make that jump to year round,” she said.
“We’ve been very successful. We’ve won the (provincial championships) in 2014 and 2015.”
This year will be what she calls a “development year” meaning with several top swimmers moving on, the club will focus its attention on bringing younger athletes into a more competitive stream.
“We had five or six kids that aged out. It’s about rebuilding our program, making sure our quality instruction is there. And that’s our goal for our coaches from a programming standpoint,” Halford said.
“We have lots of pool time for the amount of swimmers that we have. We’re lucky because we don’t compete against very many clubs for pool time. We can offer a really diverse program for our parents. You could swim seven times a week. Or you can work it around soccer practice. We offer that flexibility.”
The first meet of the year for the club is in Red Deer on June 3.
Halford said the coaching staff has a number of new and old faces to coach this season with Amy Andrews heading the high performance group. The club president added what she likes about the coaching staff this year is their youthful exuberance.
“They’re young and they’re enthusiastic, which is nice. Super enthusiastic and positive,” Halford said.
She noted at the end of the day, even though Marlins may be a bit lower key, they still compete with the best. All and all, the Marlins are about team.
“We all go to the same swim meets. (The) Marlins travel as one. When we go to meets out of our city range, people bring their trailers and it’s like an entire community,” she said.
For more information on the club check out www.reddeermarlins.org/