The Chinook Swim Club hosted its first fun meet on the year on Monday, Dec. 3, at the Sechelt Aquatic Centre with its sister club the Harbour Seals in attendance.
This has been a busy year rebuilding the club membership, which now sees the club at 40 members hailing from Halfmoon Bay to Gibsons. Swimmers range in age from seven to 18.
Brent Collins is the new head coach. He is a former club member who went onto a fine career with the University of Manitoba swim team. Other coaches are Pat Dickie and Katrina Walters. Tibor Baldauf, who has been coaching the club for more than 25 years, also continues to be active with the club.
Collins has been coaching with the club for about five years and recently was promoted to head coach.
He said when the club moved from the Gibsons pool a few years ago to the new Sechelt Aquatic Centre, a lot of the members didn’t move with the club.
“We had more than 100 members, but with the move we lost a lot of our base,” Collins said. “The focus now is really going back to a grassroots movement and really focusing on recruiting and getting young swimmers and hoping they will continue with the club for many years.”
The club’s season runs from September to June and the past few months have been spent recruiting and training.
Monday’s fun meet was the first chance so far this season for the club to compete.
“The goal of the meet is to set a standard for the rest of the season,” Collins said. “The goal is to continue to get better so by the end of the season you have a goal you have achieved.”
He said the club is not quite at a level to go to the Lower Mainland for meets.
“We’re working on building the club to take it to the level where we can go to the city and compete. We’re just not at that level yet,” he said.
Collins said it’s nice to have a great working relationship with the Harbour Seals and he was happy that they made the trip down to Sechelt on Monday.
“We’ve swum up there and they have come here before as well. It’s good to have competition and good to swim against different kids,” Collins said. “I like the way our club is moving forward. We have increased membership the last three years and we have a good group of kids who are working really hard.”