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Red Deer Catalina Swim Club anticipates record turnout at 70th annual Freeze or Fry

Over 360 swimmers are expected
Red Deer Catalina Swim Club Freeze or Fry file photo. (Photo by Advocate Staff)

The Red Deer Catalina Swim Club’s (RDCSC) 70th annual Freeze or Fry event is back and organizers believe it could be their biggest year to date.

The meet returned last year for the first time since the pandemic but with only 165 swimmers.

This weekend from June 10-11 they’re expecting 365 swimmers registered from clubs across the province. Teams from Calgary, Edmonton, and Sylvan Lake will be in attendance.

Past president of the club Jennifer Bahler said it’ll not only be the biggest event they’ve had in years but if everyone shows up who registered it could be a record for the club.

The event will be held at the Red Deer Recreation Centre’s 50-metre outdoor pool making it the only swim meet of its kind in Alberta.

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “We’re the only year-round club that hosts an outdoor swim meet. Some of the other clubs have seen that and are excited to come down as well.”

“We believe this will be the biggest Freeze or Fry we’ve ever had.”

The weather for the event is expected to be hot which is unusual because in the past it has been a bit unpredictable. This on top of other reasons Bahler said is why there is an uptick in numbers.

“It’s an interesting meet and sometimes I think they can get a little bit scared of what the Freeze or Fry could be. We’ve swam in the snow before,” she said.

“I also think it hits a really good time for it to be a fun unique meet for lots of clubs to finish up their year… Our coaches have done a really good on of encouraging clubs to try it out.”

The funds raised at the event will be used to help send some of the swimmers to national and international meets throughout the year.

They also need the extra funds to reduce overall costs for the club. The Freeze or Fry is one of their biggest fundraisers for the season.

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

On the first day, they’ll run until 8 p.m. but on Sunday they’ll wrap up the event at 5 p.m.

There is no fee for admission but those who are interested can donate at the event and are welcome to pull up a lawn chair to enjoy the competition.

Some of the swimmers competing have swam at the national level and there will be competitors of all ages. Six of Red Deer’s swimmers are ranked in the top 10 in Canada among their age group, two of which are in the top spot.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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