A new swimming season bursts out of the blocks this weekend.
The well-established Fort Frances Aquanauts will be joined by the new kid in town, the Cyclone Swim Club, as the two squads prepare for a sprint meet in Thunder Bay on Saturday and Sunday.
Aquanauts head coach Roman Ramirez will bring 17 competitors, ranging in age from seven-15, to the event—an increase of 10 from last year’s opening meet.
“The reason we have more is that they have been working hard and are becoming more confident this year,” said Ramirez, in his second year with the Aquanauts.
“We have a good number of junior swimmers who will be going to their first-ever meet, and I believe they are going to do quite well,” he added.
Ramirez said each of his swimmers will concentrate on reaching different standards of performance at the meet.
“We want them to make the qualifying times for the December meet in Winnipeg,” he remarked. “But individually, we also want them to work on different aspects of their swimming style, such as flip turns.”
While the roughly 60-member Aquanauts squad has a long-standing foundation to build on, the two dozen swimmers in the new Cyclone club won’t exactly be starting from square one.
Many of them have competitive experience from past seasons spent with the Aquanauts. Cyclones head coach Debbie Murray said she’ll bring a four-person team to Thunder Bay, with two of her swimmers taking part in their first meet.
“We’re only taking four right now because we’ve had limited practice time,” said Murray, a former head coach with the Aquanauts. “We’ll work towards additional participation at future meets as they develop their skills as a group.”
Murray’s expectations for first meet are best described as keeping her feet on the ground while glancing at a boundless horizon.
“I expect they’ll get to the [starting] box by themselves, that they’ll be ready to race, that they’ll enjoy the participation, and that they’ll learn more for future meets.
“I don’t care if they’re first or 101st.
“In two to three years, I anticipate we we’ll have a very strong team,” Murray added. “We will dominate the 10-and-under field.”