Laura Rankine, Jenni de Verk, Robyn Peel, Bob Maudie of the Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club are all smiles about being back in the pool for the EVDSC’s Masters swimming program. (Contributed by Angie Abdou)

Laura Rankine, Jenni de Verk, Robyn Peel, Bob Maudie of the Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club are all smiles about being back in the pool for the EVDSC’s Masters swimming program. (Contributed by Angie Abdou)

Masters swimming back for 2022

Contributed by Angie Abdou

Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club

After two-years of Covid protocols disrupting adult sports, Elk Valley Dolphins Swim Club is happy to dive into 2022 with the Masters Swimming program up and running. “Masters Swimming” refers to adult athletes who train – and often compete – as part of a swim club.

Fernie last had a competitive Masters Swimming team almost twenty years ago, under the leadership of Marty Hafke. With Hafke as Head Coach, the Fernie Bulltrouts boasted an active club with many well-known Fernie locals. When Hafke became busy with family life, Masters Swimming in the Elk Valley went quiet for more than a decade.

In the years leading up to the Covid outbreak, Coach Aidan Chudleigh revitalized the Elk Valley Dolphins’ adult swim club. However, before the masters swimmers attended any meets, the competitive part of the sport got shutdown due to Covid.

Now that Fernie’s masters swimmers are back in the pool, the club hopes to have at least a few athletes participate in national championships in Quebec City at the end of May.

But Masters Swimmers are not all in it for the competition. Most of them never attend a single meet. At Friday morning’s practice, all four adult swimmers came to the club for different reasons.

Jenni de Verk has a long history as a competitive swimmer, excelling in the 200 butterfly when she competed for Laurentian University’s varsity team.

“Besides swimming being my peace and serenity and an activity I’ve done for over twenty years, it’s also my once-a-week moment for myself with a busy one-year-old at home. I swim masters for my mental health and to be a better mother for him,” said de Werk.

Bob Maudie knows all about balancing a busy family life with a demanding work schedule, yet he’s been committed to the Dolphins’ Masters Swimming club since it restarted under Aidan Chudleigh.

He boasts the best fitness of the team’s adult swimmers and has shown constant improvement, despite consistently ignoring his coach’s gentle reminders to do flip turns. “I wouldn’t swim this hard without the push of a group and a coach,” says Maudie.

Robyn Peel came to Masters Swimming for the fitness component. She has quickly progress to competency in all four strokes and the corresponding turns and can put in a solid 90 minutes of swimming in each session.

Laura Rankine, another triathlete, is the newest to the club and claims she’s not at her best for morning practices. “I’m always tired,” she said on Friday, yet proceeded to accomplish a personal best in a set of 50-meter repeats. “I wouldn’t have done that without the structured practice,” she admits.

Currently, the Dolphins’ adult swim program meets from 6:30-8am on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The board and coaching staff are delighted to be welcoming Coach Aidan Chudleigh back in the middle of February. He will step into a leadership role with the masters swim team.

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