A member of the Aquanauts jumps into the pool during a rainy Kristy Hatt Memorial Swim Meet at the Ferny Coombe pool earlier this summer.

Swimming with a team builds empathy

Whole community pitched in to support Agassiz Harrison Aquanauts

The Agassiz Harrison Aquanaut Swim Club has finished up yet another successful season, filled with highlights and memories.

From successes in the provincials, personal bests from some of the competitive swimmers, and even a rain-soaked local meet, it was a season of trials and tribulations. And none of that could have happened without the support from the community.

Catherine Schwichtenberg, registrar for the AHA said there were numerous times through the season where members of the community went above and beyond to ensure a good experience for the kids.

When it poured at the Kristy Hatt Memorial Swim Meet, a donor showed up with an extra tent, and volunteers worked right through the day supporting the swimmers despite being soaked to the bone.

Peter’s Electric upgraded the swim club’s electrical system so that a meet could run without blowing any breakers.

It all helps to keep the kids focused on the task at hand — jumping head first into that pool and swimming with all their hearts.

And that they did, Schwichtenberg said.

“The Aquanauts swam for four months, getting faster and faster with each swim meet,” she said. But it’s not just swimming abilities that get honed during the swim season, which runs through the months that the the Ferny Coombe Pool is open.

“They’re meeting and interacting with swimmers of all ages,” she said, something that gives older swimmers a chance to be a leader, and younger swimmers a chance to have a mentor.

“They develop a real empathy for the other swimmers. They know what its like to stand up on the diving block and dive in there.”

And eventually, doing well in swimming can lead to scholarships — if not for pure athletic ability, then for the experiences learned and the community involvement.

“You see the amazing community support when you belong to the swim club,” she said.

To learn more about the Aquanauts, visit them online at www.ahaswimclub.com.

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