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SLS Centre opens aquatic centre to Calgary swim meet

With Calgary facing an ongoing water shortage, the NSCA moved their swim meet from the city over to the SLS Centre.
With Calgary facing an ongoing water shortage, the SLS Centre's aquatic centre welcomed swimmers from the city for the NCSA's Steve Brown Memorial Classic from June 21 to 23.

With ongoing water woes in the City of Calgary, many swimming teams from the city thank the SLS Centre for letting them take a dip in their aquatic centre, amidst an ongoing shortage.

Guest Experience Director for the SLS Centre Catriona Hill said it was all a matter of balance working between the influx of new swimmers and members of the community, to ensure all parties have their needs met. With so many new faces from Calgary, she explained that it was just the right thing to do.

“When we went through our own water crisis a few months ago, Calgary opened up the doors to the Cochrane community heading into the city to utilize their facilities,” Hill said. “So, we’re doing the best to do that reciprocally, while still considering the needs of the community.”

Hill outlines that all swim groups and lessons that were already booked will continue as planned, but notes the generosity of Cochrane swimmers.

“I have to give kudos to our local swim clubs, The Comets and The Piranhas, both have given up some of their exclusively booked time to make sure that they can share with their neighboring clubs from the city, understanding that these athletes need to be in the water training for competition right now,” Hill said.

Nose Creek Swim Association (NCSA) head coach David Loyola said that the SLS has always welcomed them their facilities.

“In my 30 years’ experience, I’ve never experienced a team that works together that well, to accommodate our athletes from the swimming community in Calgary,” Loyola said.

Currently, the SLS Centre is hosting the Steve Brown Memorial Classic, a swim meet named after the late Steve Brown as a way to celebrate his life and legacy. After being declined by pools in Calgary due to the water shortage, he said it meant a lot that it could be hosted in Cochrane from June 21 to 23.

The event is a modified swim meet, meaning that the event will only host around 40 per cent of all total athletes. Although they can’t host all 500 swimmers, several athletes can still have the chance to qualify for provincial meets. This includes 12 teams from around the province, and one team from P.E.I.

“I believe we are at about 273 now, that was the final count I heard,” Loyola said. “Most of them are 18 [years old], so it’s the age group level for our clubs. It’s the last time qualifying for some of the provincial meets.”

SLS Centre Aquatics Manager DJ Ulriksen explained that they can accommodate both local and Calgary-based swimmers through a scheduling system that would allow times for all parties.

“One of our motto’s was – doing everything we can, when we can, so like [Hill] said just the balance of everything,” Ulriksen said. “[…] We made some scheduling adjustments, even just to make it more readable on our schedule, so that you know what you’re walking into, how many lanes are available, and what kind of business that is.”

Overall, Hill said this whole experience speaks to the empathy, caring, understanding, and patience of Cochrane as they work through this challenging situation for Calgary. Loyola added that several swim clubs from Calgary are extend their deepest gratitude for their support.

“Not to mention all the aquatic sports that have also been impacted,” Loyola said. “So just gratitude and thankfulness from the whole swimming and aquatic community in Calgary.”

A full and detailed schedule of the SLS Centre’s pool facilities schedule can be found on


Daniel Gonzalez

About the Author: Daniel Gonzalez

Daniel Gonzalez joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2022. He is a graduate of the Mount Royal University Journalism program. He has worked for the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and as a reporter in rural Alberta for the ECA Review.
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