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Red Deer Catalina Swim Club hosts second annual 24-hour fundraiser

The 2023 event raised $7,500 for the club
About 50 athletes participated in the Red Deer Catalina Swim Club's second annual 24-hour swim fundraiser from Saturday to Sunday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Central Alberta athletes spent 24 hours in water to raise money for the Red Deer Catalina Swim Club.

The club hosted its second annual 24-hour swim fundraiser at the Michener Centre in Red Deer from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.

"Last year we wanted to put on a fundraiser so we threw around a couple ideas," said Jennifer Bahler, club president.

"Some of the kids were like, 'What if we just swam?' or 'What if we watched a movie in the pool?' It kind of evolved from there. The first year was so successful and the kids had so much fun so we decided to do it again."

The first 24-hour swim raised $7,500 for the club.

"It's our biggest fundraiser, and it's great for team building. The big kids swim with the little kids. Some of the little kids who maybe didn't participate last year were really excited to be a part of it this year—they've been looking forward to being at the pool and gym for 24 hours," said Bahler.

Money raised at the 24-hour swim goes towards pool and operating costs for the club throughout the year.

"Our pool fees are our biggest expense," Bahler noted.

"The City of Red Deer does the best they can for us, but pool fees rise three to four per cent every year."

There were more than 50 Red Deer Catalina Swim Club athletes participating in the 24-hour swim, about 90 per cent of whom were staying overnight at the Michener Centre.

"We have a schedule set up throughout the 24 hours. We have six teams and someone from each team is in the water every hour. We also have scheduled practices running throughout the event," said Bahler.

"We have a few hours throughout the day where the whole team will be in the pool. We did water polo at 1 p.m., we have obstacle courses planned, and we'll have a midnight swim where we wake everyone up, get them in the water and do some fun activities."

Bahler said this event wouldn't be possible without the City of Red Deer agreeing to let the club stay at the Michener Centre overnight.

The Red Deer Catalina Swim Club is currently gearing up to host its biggest-ever Freeze or Fry Invitational swim meet during the first weekend of June.

"We're having to turn clubs away because we don't have any more room. We have almost 450 athletes registered – we're going to be on deck from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. probably on both days," she said.

Additionally, two of the club's swimmers, Abbi Bahler and Nicholas Bennett, will head to Olympics Trials this week. Bennett is a para-athlete competing in S14, and is the current Canadian record holder and World  Champion in the 200free and 200IM.  He is looking to make the Canadian Paralympic team and head to Paris. Bahler has her eyes set on making a junior team.

For more information on the Red Deer Catalina Swim Club visit

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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