Mathew Cassidy excited to compete in the Halloween Howler, his first Fernie fall meet. (Photo credit: Matt Kuhn)

Mathew Cassidy excited to compete in the Halloween Howler, his first Fernie fall meet. (Photo credit: Matt Kuhn)

Dolphins to host meet at Fernie Aquatic Centre

Contributed by Angie Abdou

Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club

After more than a year of no live competitions, the Dolphins are preparing to host a swim meet at the Fernie Aquatic Centre on October 30 and 31. In the past, the Dolphins always hosted a spring meet focusing on young swimmers, packing the building with enthusiastic athletes and filling the town with their families. Recently, the club had decided to add a fall meet that drew in more advanced competitive athletes. The Dolphins intention is to go forward hosting two annual meets – fall for more serious competitive swimmers and spring more for those less competitive or at the earlier stage of their swimming experience.

However, due to public health restrictions, this year’s fall meet had to be modified. The club was restricted to having a closed invitational, meaning they could only invite a few specific clubs in the area. The daily sessions will be split in two, with older athletes in the morning and younger in the afternoon, to limit the number of people in the building.

Three clubs will attend this first fall meet, traveling from Cranbrook, Nelson, and Columbia Valley (Invermere/Radium).

All three clubs are thrilled to see competition resume. Columbia Valley is bringing seven swimmers. Nelson has signed up eight athletes. Seventeen swimmers will come from Cranbrook. The local Fernie club has thirty-three swimmers signed up to compete.

“We’re looking forward to hosting our first ever fall swim meet,” says President Wendy Howse. “We’re excited to make it a yearly event!”

Meet Manager Aysha Haines echoes Howse’s enthusiasm: “This meet is so important to us. It’s especially important for our swimmers who have been working hard for almost two years without the opportunity to swim in a real competition in person. It feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. We are still living in challenging times and there is a long way to go before we reach ‘normal,’ but this meet is a symbol that better times are coming.”

Spectators will not be allowed in the building, but they will be gathered around the outside peering in the windows, cheering on their little swimmers in this symbolic competition.