Swimming with the pumpkins

Reegan Junkind, left, Caleb Brockway, centre, and Mason Walters search for a pumpkin with their name on it during a Lions Swim Club practice at the Hay River Aquatic Centre on Oct. 30.

Reegan Junkind, left, Caleb Brockway, centre, and Mason Walters search for a pumpkin with their name on it during a Lions Swim Club practice at the Hay River Aquatic Centre on Oct. 30.

The Hay River Aquatic Centre will play host to the Hay River Lions Swim Club’s eighth annual swim meet starting Nov. 13.

It’s the only meet the town hosts, although members of the club often travel to other communities for nine or 10 other meets.
”It give the kids a chance to compete against people in their own pool,” said head coach Kim Brockway before a practice Oct. 30.

“The kids are doing really well,” Brockway said, who also coaches with Allie Buhler, Kaylee Melvin and Dean Hendrickson.

The meet, sanctioned by Swim Alberta, draws swimmers from Yellowknife, Fort Smith and Peace River, Alta.

It was too early to say how many were expected for the three-day event by press time, as registration closes Nov. 6, although the limit is 200.

“We’re doing drills, trying to get the kids back up their endurance. They’ve been out of the pool since February,” she said.

A labour dispute between the town and its employees closed the pool starting that month with workers returning to the job in August.

Brockway has become head coach of the club when the season began Oct. 5. She’s been involved with the club for four years.

After 12 years, Kelvin Yee retired as coach, according to a post on the NWT Swimming website.

 

Pumpkin party

As part of the session last week, pumpkins were dropped into the pool.

Brockway and Hendrickson used the bright orange pumpkins, with club member names scrawled on the bottom with a sharpie, as teaching aides.

In one drill, the pumpkins were at one end of the lane while the members at the other. They raced down the lane and had to find the pumpkin with their name before swimming back to the other end of the pool with it.

Another drill saw members line up in rows and pass a pumpkin overhead or between their legs to the person behind them, going through the row as quickly as possible.

Finally, swimmers were asked to cradle a pumpkin between their legs or by holding it and using their free appendages to swim to the other end of the pool and back in a relay.

Of course, being so close to Halloween, treats were handed out.

Tossing the pumpkins in with the swimmers has also been done prior to Halloween in years past.