In mid-April, the Elk Valley Dolphins traveled to the Inaugural Kootenay Boundary Classic swimming competition, hosted by a team that trains out of both Castlegar and Nelson. Since it was the West Kootenay club’s first home meet, many Elk Valley parents went to help with officiating and meet management. The Dolphins even loaned the West Kootenay team their timing equipment in a cooperative effort to boost swimming in the area and build some healthy interior BC rivalries.
Aysha Haines, Elk Valley Dolphins team manager, is pleased with the collaboration. “Helping teams in our Kootenay region develop their meet hosting capabilities is critical to our long-term athlete development,” said Haines.
“It gives our younger swimmers the opportunity not just to compete in our region but to build the friendships and friendly rivalries that will follow them through their competitive years and frequently onto university and adulthood.” Haines sees this first Castlegar competition as a tremendous success on multiple levels.
Coach Aidan Chudleigh was also pleased with the Castlegar meet. Elk Valley Dolphins took 18 swimmers ranging in age from 9 to 16 and from swimmers attending their first out of-of-town competition to those qualified for provincial championships. The meet gave all swimmers an opportunity to build camaraderie, develop mentorship relationships, and share their joy for the sport of swimming.
“Everyone had a smile on their face,” said Chudleigh. “Everyone had a good time.”
Amidst the fun, the team had plenty of success too, ranging from personal best times to two new club records: Olivia Howse in the 50 free and Leah Soetaert in the 200 fly.
This week the Dolphins will carry their excitement about Kootenay swimming into the annual home meet. With Fernie Fox Hotel on board as sponsor, the team is thrilled to be back to hosting the big spring meet for the first time since Covid-19 restrictions came into effect in 2020. Six teams are attending the local meet with 250 swimmers competing.
“We’re looking forward to a great weekend,” said Chudleigh. “Lots of best times, lots of happy swimmers.”