Submitted by the MESC–The Masset Eagles Swim Club (MESC) has been steadily climbing this year under new Head Coach Michael McQuade and Assistant Coaches Kelly Ebbs and Jewel Graham. The club has ballooned to over 40 swimmers from numbers in the teens over the last few years.
“The increase in membership has been very motivating for everyone” says Mr. McQuade. “A lot of really good swimmers have returned to the team and the huge increase in the young swimmer base bodes well for the future of the club”.
The team travelled to Terrace last month for regional competition, walking away champions of the developmental competition. Due to an increase in gaming funds and assistance from Gwaii Trust, MESC was able to bring a huge contingency of swimmers.
The developmental competition was awarded based on a percentage of best times, and Masset had the highest with 91-percent, far beyond the 83-percent by second place Kitimat. Although most swimmers had not swum before, it was crucial that they were not disqualified for stroke infractions and the swimmers stood up to the challenge. With a simple goal of ‘looking good’ and maintaining legal technique, the swimmers persevered and took home one of the first awards ever for the club in a true team effort.
The senior contingency travelled to Victoria last weekend to compete in the Christmas Cracker, a huge western Canadian competition which includes teams from BC and Alberta. It saw some amazing swims including a national age group record and international performances by several national team members among the 600-plus swimmers.
MESC swimmers were ‘middle of the pack’ in nearly all events, with Marijke Vanderlinden placing top ten against other 10 and unders. Latasha Grosse posted some impressive times against a fierce senior field at her first competition in several years, demonstrating her abilities in yet another sport. Other swimmers attending were Lisa Jarvis, Stephanie Collison, Courtney Hudebine, Noel Stewart-Burton and Nori Bellis, all with lifetime best times and huge time drops, some established less than a month earlier in Terrace.
Going into the Christmas break, the team is assessing the first half of the season. MESC has taken great steps to determine a theme of team unity and a focus on the fundamental skills of a competitive swim club, both in and out of the pool. A tireless parent group has made sure that Masset has another great club to be proud of and an option for kids to further physical and mental growth in a comfortable, professional setting. The next steps for the club will be to take the amazing base of technical development in the pool and look towards a higher level of competitiveness within the region.
Swimming is a lifetime sport and a life skill enjoyed forever and appears to be growing on the islands, providing social and travel opportunities to its members. Any swimmers interested in trying out are encouraged to call club president Denise Collison at 626-3668.
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