A group of Central Alberta swimmers get ready for the 25-metre backstroke at the Michener Recreation Centre at the annual Red Deer Marlins Summer Swim Meet. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Marlins meet challenges swimmers early in summer season

Summer swimming season balances competition with family

The Red Deer Marlins welcomed summer clubs from across the region to compete at their annual meet this weekend.

Ten clubs and 232 swimmers raced throughout Friday and Saturday at the Michener Recreation Centre as the Alberta Summer Swimming Association season kicks into full gear.

Clubs from Castor, Forestburg, Hanna, High Prairie, Innisfail, Killam, Lacombe, Ponoka, and Olds participated in the annual meet. The host Marlins had 69 swimmers competing.

Marlins secretary Erika Grobb, said the smiles around the pool and the competitive spirit heating up are the best parts about their meet.

“The neat thing you see about the first couple meets of the season is a lot of kids are trying new events for the very first time,” she said.

“So you see a lot of personal bests and a lot of huge improvements and the enthusiasm because it’s early in the season people are really excited… this is still a really fun meet.”

Marlins swimmer Chloe Becher said older swimmers are always looking out for the young ones. She said she hopes to coach one day and likes the idea of helping her teammates.

“I’m a big fan of helping all the kids and making sure they’re getting where they need to be. Making new friends and hopefully coaching one day,” said Becher, 13, who has been a Marlins’ swimmer for six years.

“I’ve always loved little kids and I love how they look up to me. It’s almost like you’re their role model and giving them what they need to do their best.”

Piper Grobb, 6, in her second year with the Marlins, said she’s made a lot of good friends and likes the competition.

That idea was furthered by the Marlins secretary, who said one of the most exciting moments of the meet is the club relay on Saturday when more experienced athletes jump in the pool to race alongside their young compatriots.

“The approach the Marlins have taken with assembling their relays this year is a 15-year-old swimmer in the pool with an eight-year-old, allowing them to be a team with all age ranges,” she said.

“Watching them cheer each other on and hope for them all to do the best– it’s really that team feel at the end of the day and that’s the win. Everybody is smiling and laughing.”

Medalists on the weekend from the Marlins include:

Six and under girls: silver- Piper Grobb; Six and under boys: Gold- Sylas Weimer, bronze- Nathan Zankl; 7-8 boys: silver- James Bellmore, bronze- Nathaniel Ezra; 9-10 boys: gold- Parks Tweedale, silver- Rhett Becher; 9-10 girls: bronze- Corey Ovie; 11-12 girls: gold- Makenna Van Maarion; 13-14 boys: silver- Payden Van Maarion, bronze- Owen Halford; 13-14 girls: gold- Chloe Becher; 15-17 boys: bronze- Richard Seo; 15-17 girls: gold- Emma Wrench.

For full meet results, visit www.assa.ca/default.php

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