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By Brian Lockhart
The Orangeville Otters Swim Club managed to come out on top at the Huronia Regional Short Course Championships held in Owen Sound on January 31 – February 2.
The Club has worked toward becoming a major competitor in the sport and have been making great strides over the past few years.
Several competitors are now ranked in the top ten in Canada and some having qualified for the Junior Nationals.
The win in Owen Sound was a big boost for the Otters who had to go up against clubs from must larger centres.
The meet was held at the Julie McArthur YMCA pool.
“This was a regional meet. They have to qualify to go to this meet,” explained Club board member Jim Blackwell. “They qualify by time standards. Swim Ontario puts out time standards and there are different levels. At the regional level only certain qualified kids can make it. It's a pretty high level meet. Swimmers from Ontario qualified for eight events. We sent over 50 swimmers.”
The Otters have been working hard to improve their competitiveness and are now achieving the results they have been working toward.
At the Owen Sound meet the Otters were competing against clubs that sent a larger contingent to the pool. The Otters won the event by coming out on top in points.
“Every race, every final, every swimmer in the event got 20 points for first place, second place got 18, third place got 16,” Blackwell explained. “To win this was quite remarkable for the Orangeville Club. This is really showing that the Club is growing in quality. We are now getting swimmers who are nationally ranked. This allows swimmers to go to higher level meets.”
Coach Rob Taylor, said the Club's success has come from working with younger swimmers who join the club, learn the techniques and grow as athletes.
“The success in Owen Sound shows me that the development with the younger kids when they come to the Club is really paying off,” adding that the first year he was involved with the Club they focused on technical skills in the water.
“We purchased an underwater camera system. We spent a lot of time looking at a swimmer's technique in the water, and we would make some adjustments on what they were doing. The growth of our coaching staff has really impacted out team in a positive manner. Our staff has grown each year that I have been the head coach and great effort has been put into the development of our swimmers by our many coaches.”
As younger swimmers learn and adapt to new techniques in the water along with other factors such as physical conditioning, the more likely they are to become successful in the sport.
The Club plans to continue working on it's provincial ranking while going up against Clubs from larger centres.
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