On March 26th, the Ottawa YMCA Olympians (OYO) swim club hosted its 8th annual Invitational Long Course Swim Meet at the Nepean Sportsplex. Over 400 swimmers aged 7 to early 20s participated from 16 regional clubs. Over 300 spectators also attended the meet.
Besides OYO, other participating clubs included the Begulas de College Alfred (BCA), Arnprior Bluefish (ABSC), Carleton Place (MAKOS and CPAC), Cornwall Sea Lions (CSL), Deep River (CANDUS), Ernestown Barracudas (EBSC), Hawksbury (ORCA), Kingston Blue Marlins (KBM), Greater Napanee Piranhas (GNP), Nepean Kanata Barracudas (NKB), Perth, Petawawa Predators (PPSC) and Trenton Dolphins (TD). Parents from the Gloucestor GO club also assisted the OYO club in running the meet.
Girls who placed well in their events were Lisa Blackburn (NKB), Penny and Tara Baxter (NKB), Jordanna Fenato (OYO), Lisa and Emily Gillespie (Perth), Jessica Kelly (NKB), Monel Lalonde (BCA), Ellen MacLean (OYO) and Elizabeth Wycliffe (EBSC).
Top boys included Sean Alexander (TD), Danny Carter (NKB), Clayton Delaney (CSL), Jeremy Harley (NKB), Jason Harrey (NKB), Ruslan Kedik (OYO), Stephen Mak (KBM), Adam MacWilliam (MAKOS) and Glen Torontow (OYO).
The OYO club practices at the Carlingwood Y pool, 200 Lockhart in West End Ottawa at various times each week. Training levels start at the Pre-Competitive Program (PCP) and then continue with Bronze, Silver, Gold and Gold Plus as swimmers continue to improve. A number of meets are held throughout the year both within and outside the Ottawa area. Members live in Ottawa, Nepean, Kanata and Orleans.
The club philosophy is to stress all-around development of the swimmer while having fun doing it. Each member has a goal to improve his/her personal best.
Joanna Kipp, 15 has been swimming with OYO for over 7 years. Says Joanna “I enjoy swimming because it is a great way to stay in shape and to meet a lot of new people. I also like the OYO coaches.”
“Swimming is a lot of fun and a good workout” says 16 year old Laurel Pruden. “I enjoy competing against other clubs. The backstroke is my favourite stroke.”
Ruslan Kedik, 18 has been swimming for 11 years with OYO and recently placed as high as third place in the 50 metre butterfly at the Canadian Junior Nationals at the Sportsplex last February. He is also training for the Olympic swim trials. Says Ruslan, “I really like going to swim meets and competing against other clubs. It keeps you in shape and helps you think a lot better. I also make a lot of friends at competitions.”
Annette MacLean is a parent of three female OYO swimmers aged 8, 10 and 15. She says “ Participating in the swim club keeps the kids busy and I like the fitness, team work and discipline the swim training offers.”
Annette, along with other OYO parents, help, organize the club behind the scenes as well as participating as timers and officials at swim meets.
On May 6th, OYO will participate in its annual Swim-A-Thon, to be held at the University of Ottawa pool. Proceeds will go to help both the club and CHEO.
Registration for the next swim season will start in September. For more information on the OYO swim club, please contact Greg Rzentkowski at 591-8360 or see the OYO web site at http://members.home.net/ottawayolympians.