Airdrie hosts provincial swim meet
About 325 swimmers gathered at Airdrie’s Genesis Place for the John Timmerman’s Memorial Invitational meet, Feb. 11-12.
Six clubs took part in the swim meet, which was hosted by the Nose Creek Swim Association (NCSA) and featured competitors ages seven to 18 years old of varying skill level.
“It was a good weekend,” said NCSA assistant head coach Alexx Diep. “It is great for Airdrie to have this exposure because we have a great facility here.”
Diep went on to explain the meet gave swimmers another opportunity to qualify for provincial meets including Age Group Trials and Age Group Championships, both of which will be held within the next two months.
Diep said the club had five new provincial qualifiers: Olivia Smigel, Christianna Eckstein, Ali Samson, Melia St. Louis and Rhys Stephens have each earned their berth at Age Group Provincial Trials later this month.
Several swimmers earned A and B times and personal bests, including Airdrie’s Reid Bohnet for the 50-metre backstroke and Josiah Eckstein who earned his first A time in the 100-metre butterfly.
For most competitive swimmers, the Age Group meets are the highest level they will obtain this year, added Diep. In 2012, more than 20 swimmers will attend Trials, while about 15 have already earned their spot at Championships.
Diep said those numbers are impressive for the club which has grown by 30 per cent this year.
“The next couple of months we will really focus on the kids individually,” he said. “We really want to tune into the specific needs of each individual swimmer... physical, mental and psychological.”
Diep said Nose Creek will continue to build excitement at practice and upcoming meets.
“We are very happy with the progress of the kids and, as a whole, with the club,” said Diep. “The quality and speed we are getting from the swimmers is far exceeding last year.”
John Timmerman meet manager Wendy Brown said the club has received excellent feedback about Airdrie’s Genesis Place since it moved the annual meet to Airdrie from its previous location at Calgary’s Foothills Aquatic Centre.
“I love this facility,” she said. “It is spacious and it is energizing. The staff is amazing and very accomodating.”
According to Brown, having the meet, in Airdrie is special as it honours Timmerman, an Airdronian who was instrumental in the creation of NCSA and the annual competition.
“Last year, when we were able to host the meet in Airdrie... it was a bit like a homecoming,” said Brown.
She added volunteers completed about 200 shifts of four to five hours to make the meet a success.
Despite her many hours of volunteer work, Brown, whose son has been involved in competitive swimming for several years and recently earned a spot at Olympic trails in Montreal, said the outcome for the swimmers is worth the effort she puts in.
“The draw of swimming is that it is a lifetime skill,” she said. “It teaches life skills... including work ethic, time management, self discipline. Kid make friends for life. There are lots of ways for a child to develop from physical to psychological and emotional maturity.”
Brown said the club has already made arrangements to host the meet in Airdrie again next year.