Orcas Swim Club is such an asset

Parent Vince Garnett writes about what an asset he feels the Ladysmith-Chemainus Orcas Swim Club is for the community.

Editor:

What an incredible asset we have here in Ladysmith.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Orcas. We have swum a long way since our inception in 1992, with many more lengths yet to come.

The Ladysmith/Chemainus Swim Club embraces a long-term athletic development program that supports a positive environment so that each swimmer can reach his or her potential.

I have personally seen what an impact the Orcas Swim Club has been in boosting the self-confidence and self-esteem of ones who were initially quite shy.

The goals of the club are: to improve swim techniques and build endurance through a multi-faced program geared toward different ages and abilities; to create a positive atmosphere fostering personal discipline, self-esteem and goal achievement; to introduce goal setting, nutrition and other life-skill topics that will help the swimmer to grow as an individual and as a team member; to provide leadership by a professional coaching staff; and to promote the club in order to raise funds to meet financial obligations, thereby making the program affordable to all.

The club has gone from 15-20 swimmers three years ago to 65-70 now, with swimmers ranging from beginners to ones with a national ranking, as well as A-, AA- and AAA-ranked swimmers.

The Orcas swim team raises a significant portion of our budget through fundraising initiatives. Financial commitments include pool rental costs, coaching staff salaries and meet travel expenses.

Less than 25 per cent of the financial needs of the club are met through monthly swim fees.

The club is currently seeking to replace the dive blocks, which are badly in need of repair. This will require a major fundraising effort in the community to achieve this goal.

Do not be surprised if in the next eight to 12 years, Ladysmith has swimmers who qualify for the Canadian Olympic team.

Vince Garnett

Parent of an Orcas swimmer