With two meets under its belt, the Elmira District Secondary School swim team is already seeing improvements early in the season.
Coach Pam Germann says last season was successful for the team with several swimmers making it to CWOSSA and one swimmer, Jordan Shantz, going on to OFSAA. Shantz has since graduated.
This year’s team is roughly half veterans and half rookies.
“The first two meets have gone really well. We have a lot of new swimmers coming in, so our veteran swimmers are trying to show them the ropes and get used to how our meets are set up and things like that. We’re really working as a team to make sure everyone feels comfortable and can just swim their very best races they can,” Germann said.
EDSS has hosted two meets so far at the Woolwich Memorial Centre and will host one more today (Dec. 8) at 3 p.m. They’ll head to Forest Heights Collegiate Institute for a meet on Dec. 15 and then WCSSAA is being held Dec. 20 at the Wilmot Recreation Centre.
“With the maxi meets we’re doing right now, we’re not really looking at placements, we’re really just trying to get seed times for our WCSSAA meet that will be on Dec. 20. So as much as you’re racing the person beside you, sometimes there are mixed heats and things like that, and we don’t necessarily take down all of the times. The coaches just get the times and then they can use that to help improve their swimming,” Germann said.
Each student picks up to three individual events to participate in, 50 metres, 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metres of many of the strokes – butterfly, back crawl, breast stroke and freestyle. There is also individual medley and various relays.
She says this year there are a lot of individual goals. Each of the swimmers gets their times back from the meets and then they focus on improving them based on the qualifying times for CWOSSA and OFSAA.
“I think one of the things we’re going to be working on is turns and our dive starts. A lot of the people are feeling like their turns have good technique, but they just aren’t very quick. So we’re going to work on speeding those up and making sure we just have a mental focus of trying to push yourself as hard as you can, what types of things can you think about while you’re swimming to make sure that you’re pulling as much water as you can or using all the techniques we talk about.”
She says many swimmers have already improved their times in the first two meets from last year’s results, by one or two seconds, which is good for swimming since just shaving off hundreds of seconds is seen as improvement.
Germann notes many of the students are lifeguards, enjoy swimming recreationally or have swam competitively before. They have two in-pool practices, a dry-land practice and a meet every week.
“It’s something they’re excited about doing because some of them have given that up as an extracurricular outside of school, but they can continue doing it inside school. And also it’s an individual sport and the practice schedules are a little bit more flexible than some of the other team sports. It gives people an opportunity to participate in something, a sport at school that they can feel successful with and feel like a part of our Lancer community, without necessarily having to dedicate every night of the week to their sport,” Germann said.
Their last home meet is today, Dec. 8, at the WMC with heats starting at 3:15 p.m. after a quick warm up and running until 5 p.m.