learn to swim to com­pete in till­son­burg

Tillsonburg News - - NEWS - CHRIS AB­BOTT For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Joni at jm­sand@sym­pa­tico.ca.

Swim­mers of all abil­i­ties are in­vited to try a new swim­ming pro­gram in till­son­burg.

The first ses­sion for the learn to Com­pete swim team pro­gram will run septem­ber 19 to de­cem­ber 14 at the till­son­burg Com­mu­nity Cen­tre Kins­men pool, kicked off sept. 12 and 14 with ‘trial swims’ to show the swim­mers what it will be like.

“If they want to join, they can reg­is­ter af­ter that,” said till­son­burg ’s Joni maerten-san­ders.

Swim­mers will prac­tice tues­day and thurs­days, based on three age groups (5-5:45 p.m. for 6-9 year olds... 5-6 p.m. for 8-12 year olds... and 4:30-6 for 12-and-older).

Swim­mers with in­tel­lec­tual and phys­i­cal abil­i­ties are en­cour­aged to try the new pro­gram.

“We will be teach­ing com­pet­i­tive skills, with the goal of even­tu­ally de­vel­op­ing a pro­gram again for the town,” said Joni maerten-san­ders, who ini­tially ap­proached the town in the sum­mer about start­ing a para pro­gram in the fall, one day per week, geared to kids with in­tel­lec­tual/phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties.

“They came back and asked if i would like to start a ‘learn to Com­pete swim team’ pro­gram.”

Maerten-san­ders, who con­tin­ues as coach of the Wil­mot aces in new ham­burg, said the aces have a com­pet­i­tive swim team and suc­cess­ful ‘house league’ pro­gram, com­pa­ra­ble to the hockey model.

“In a way you’re al­ways fight­ing an­other sport to gain peo­ple. peo­ple who say ‘i’m not go­ing to take my kids to com­pet­i­tive swim be­cause it’s a lot of prac­tice time, it’s a lot of this, a lot of that,’ will say, ‘oh wait, you have a house league pro­gram? swim twice a week, one meet/com­pe­ti­tion per month... per­fect.’”

The struc­ture from Wil­mot’s house league pro­gram will be ap­plied in till­son­burg.

Com­pe­ti­tions will be in the aqua 7 league.

“De­velop the skills, get kids in­ter­ested. if there’s a de­sire, and it usu­ally takes two-three years of swim­ming if you’re new to the sport to de­velop the skills to be very com­pet­i­tive, then there are op­por­tu­ni­ties there for it,” said maerten-san­ders, who will con­tinue Wil­mot’s com­pet­i­tive pro­gram in Wood­stock through the 2017-18 sea­son, and be­yond if the de­mand is there. “there’s a lot of work to do to re­build a team. We can also start teach­ing the par­ents how to build their pro­gram again.

We can start de­vel­op­ing to­ward that so that if some­one wanted to start a team again, that is there for them.”

The learn to Com­pete swim team will be af­fil­i­ated with the Wil­mot aces, but will only draw from the till­son­burg area.

“If we have swim­mers who want to swim more, then they reg­is­ter with our Wood­stock or Wil­mot pro­grams... for now. the goal is to even­tu­ally have an­other com­pet­i­tive pro­gram here.

“We’d like to host one of the meets in till­son­burg. they have great blocks and it’s a de­cent fa­cil­ity for it.”

Maerten-san­ders and swim coach Kris san­ders con­tacted nearby sum­mer pro­grams in delhi and ot­ter­ville to let them know about the new till­son­burg pro­gram.

“It helps that Zach (san­ders) is coaching the ot­ter­ville team,” maerten-san­ders smiled.

It’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion for the town, said maerten-san­ders.

“It’s good for the town get­ting more kids in the wa­ter. like i said to Julie (daw­ley), ‘yes, i’d like to see kids go to the na­tional level and be­come stars, but i also want kids to swim to have fun... swim to be­come life­guards... swim to do syn­chro... swim to do what­ever.’ that’s what i’m all about.”


The first ses­sion for the new Learn to Com­pete Swim Team pro­gram at the Till­son­burg Com­mu­nity Cen­tre runs Septem­ber 19 to De­cem­ber 14. It be­gan Sept. 12, and to­mor­row Thurs­day, Sept. 14 with 'trial swims' to show the swim­mers - ages 6-9, 8-12 and 12-and-older - what it will be like. For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Joni at jm­sand@sym­pa­tico.ca.

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