Freeze or fry: mostly a freeze; 13 swimmers made finals

Sylvan Lake Nauticals were in Red Deer for the 60th annual Freeze or Fry on the weekend.

Sylvan Lake Nauticals were in Red Deer for the 60th annual Freeze or Fry on the weekend. This meet is held in the outdoor pool at Red Deer recreation centre. The only way this meet gets put on hold is for lightning. The kids swim rain, snow or shine.

We arrived on Friday at 10:30 a.m. and it was pouring rain. We got on the deck and promptly started to set up gazebos in order to keep the kids, parents and coaches dry and warm. We only had five swimmers at the afternoon session to swim the 400 IM and 400 free style swim but we got them settled in and warm. When the rest of the team arrived for the 4 p.m. warm up we had been in the rain for 5.5 hours and still had 4 hours to go. The rain did taper off a little but not much and it was a cool evening. The kids all braved the elements, did all their swims and parents cheered.

Saturday brought a damp cool morning but that cleared for a pleasant afternoon and towels were hung everywhere to dry. Then the tornado watch brought the high winds just in time for the finals that evening. Again during the day and the finals the kids swam and endured all the good and bad weather. The skies absolutely opened up for the finals that night and the swimming continued in the downpour.

Sunday brought cloudy skies and high winds again but not much rain which was nice. The swimmers by now were getting tired and cold but still most of our kids powered through all the wind and cold. For the finals, jackets, blankets and towels didn’t come off the kids until the climbed on the blocks to swim.

As a team we brought a total of 30 swimmers ranging in age from 7 years old to 18 years old. We had 38 swimmers place in the top 6 after the prelims. In total after the finals we had six in first place, three in second place, seven in third place, one in fourth place, four in fifth place and ten in sixth place. The team achieved 70 personal best times and we had 13 kids make the finals in 38 different swims.

Overall, considering the conditions, the parents and coaches were extremely proud of all of the swimmers and how well they did. This was, after all, mostly a freeze weekend.

Congratulations should be given to Catalina swim club who once again hosted and extremely well run meet with great food for the officials and the nice bright yellow rain ponchos we all got to wear during the rain. They kept all volunteers fed and warm in some pretty miserable conditions.

Good luck to Michael Carson (11) and Jasmine Hafso (13) who will both be at the Alberta age group Trials in Lethbridge June 15-17 for a chance to qualify for provincials. Swim hard and join the other five headed to Edmonton. Ann Duffy and Annika Vetter also qualified for Trials but will not be able to attend.

Good luck to Samantha Murdoch (18), Chase Murdoch (16), Amber Carson (13) Erin Matthews (12) and Elizabeth Moore (11) who are all going to the provincials July 5-8 to the Kinsmen Centre in Edmonton.