SWA shows growth in skills

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To get to the top it comes with taking the first steps.

For the South Western Aquatics club following the Nothers Invitational swim meet at Canada Games Aquatic Centre in London, they’re ready to leap.

“It was a great swimming meet. We have many swimmers, especially new ones and they performed well under pressure,” SWA head coach Roman Ramirez said of the club winning more than 20 medals of the 44 swimmers who went. “They performed really well.”

The Nov. 22-24 meet, which saw about 1,000 swimmers compete from across the province, is one of the largest and gives clubs an idea of where their swimmers are in relation to others.

“It’s a nice way to see where you’re at because there’s so many people from different clubs,” said Ryan Jensen, 14. “You can tell if you’re good enough to make finals.”

“You can see how far you’ve become from the beginning of the year and determine your goals,” said Haley Chisholm, 14.

Ramirez added the successful results have also shown his swimmers to set their goals high.

“Last year they were looking towards regionals,” Ramirez said of the swimmers. “While now they’re after provincials or nationals because they know they can do more.

“Some had a wall last year they didn’t think they could break through, but I believe they’ve broken through it and can see further down the road. It’s great to see that.”

While the added triumph is something a swimmer will never turn down, the meet shows how far they’ve come since the season began in September.

“It shows if we’ve improved since the end of last year,” said Grace Schofield, 14. “If you do really good it shows if you work and try harder you can bump up.”

The swim club is divided up to four sections – intros (novice), competitive (regional level), age group (provincial level) and elite (national level) – and depending on that section can train anywhere from four to nine times a week between Tillsonburg and Woodstock, with members coming from both communities.

It’s a harder pace of training than past seasons, but one that Ramirez felt his swimmers were ready for.

“I think (Roman) saw we were doing well and that since we’ve been doing well we can go to the next level and get better to make it to provincials and nationals,” said Jensen.

With regionals approaching in February and provincials in March the swimmers have their eyes on the future.

Ramirez added that one major difference that’s helping is having the club train together for all practices, regardless if it’s in Tillsonburg or Woodstock.

Although it means extra driving and earlier wake up calls to get to practice, he believes it will only benefit them all in the months to come.

“Everyone’s training together. Last year it wasn’t like that and I believe it’s more fun for them and better,” Ramirez said. “The team spirit is getting stronger. The kids are becoming closer and that helps.”

greg.colgan@sunmedia.ca

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