UCRO might need a bigger pool soon
The Upper Canada River Otters have taken some major strides and they’re not quite done yet, according to head coach Martin McKend.
If you ever go to a UCRO practice these days you can’t miss the success the club is having. Last year the River Otters made waves with how well they did and this year, through both individual and team achievements, the organization is acting more like a cannonball off the highdiving board.
Last year at this time there were just a few swimmers from the local club that made the trip to Cardinal to practice in the township’s outdoor pool to get ready for nationals. The out-of-town training is becoming somewhat of a rite of passage that if you can hit a high level then you get a change of scenery for practice.
This year UCRO packed the Cardinal facility with a carousel of swimmers going the length of the pool, getting out, and walking back totheothersidetodoitalloveragain. After only a few swimmers made the cut last year to participate in the outdoorworkout,thistimearoundthere was no shortage with Jack Gill going to the Canada Swimming Trials in Edmonton starting Thursday, and Cameron Carlyle-Locke, Gerrit Abrams, Jessica Tian, Maggie Crawford, and Abbey Nichols going to Canadian Junior Championships in Winnipeg, which starts July 25.
If you go to the UCRO’s usual practice centre at the YMCA you may or may not notice the club’s recent results tucked away in the corner, but soon enough they’ll be front and centre.
At the 13-and-under Ontario Summer Festival Championships in mid-June the club won the Small Team award banner, which is given to the team scoring the most points and having 50 or fewer competitive swimmers. It was the second time the River Otters had won the title with the first one coming earlier in the season in February.
A week later UCRO added to their collection by winning the Small Team Award and Top Performing Team at the Ontario Summer AA Championships in Markham. The River Otters had seven swimmers at the AA Championships and they collectively earned seven golds, six silvers, and one bronze.
The local swim club’s original two banners are hanging up in the corner of the YMCA’s pool area, but there isn’t enough room for four of them over there. McKend said he was told by the YMCA that the banners will get hanged in the rafters for all to see in September during the facility’s pool closure.
“It really brings the team together because it’s not just one individual performance, it’s everybody
There should hopefully be some room for more banners.”
coming together. The relays matter, every swim, every point matters, and every best time. Now they really believe they’re part of a really strong team,” said McKend. “There should hopefully be some room for more banners.”
If you want to teach a child how to add and multiply then having them part of UCRO might help with that nowadays.
“I think it’s a snowball effect,” said McKend about his team’s success. “It started with Cameron CarlyleLocke (at nationals), then it moved to Jack Gill making Trials, and it moved to the three last year. Even at the provincial level it was one, then four, then eight and now everybody is pat of the group and believes they can be there.”
At some point the waves have to calm, right?
They may eventually, but McKend doesn’t see things slowing down anytime soon.
He’s already looking at getting the national athletes to the next level for the 2018-19 season and he’s hoping they’ll qualify for the Olympic Trials. The coach added Carlyle-Locke, Crawford, and Nichols are, “Just a hair away.”
Thecoachalsoplansonhavingeight to 10 athletes in the Cardinal pool next year training for nationals. “It’s still going up,” said McKend. Hopefully there is enough room in the pool for all of them.
The Upper Canada River Otters filled the outdoor pool in Cardinal in preparation for nationals.