Dryden Dolphins invite councillors to reflect on importance of facility
By Samantha Hawkins
Despite the weather and wintery road conditions the swim meet held at the Dryden Recreation Complex over the Feb. 21st – 22nd weekend saw an excellent turn out.
Sixty four swimmers from all over the region, some even from the national level, came together to show their support for the Dryden Dolphin’s tenth anniversary.
Regional Director for Swim Ontario Janet Hyslop says that meets like the one held in Dryden over the weekend won’t usually attract national level competitors, but they came this weekend as a way of saying they believe this (swimming) is important, “to make a statement that we need this.”
City council members Shayne MacKinnon, Ken Moss and Mary Trist also attended the second session on Feb. 21st after the Dolphins personally invited every council member to come and see how swimming affects the local community.
Hyslop says Dryden plays a key role in the success of swimming in the region. “The growth in the past four to five years has been huge. Their (Dryden’s) contribution to the region is significant, not just swimmers, but the push for coaching and competitions, not only regional but provincially as well.”
Dryden acts as a sort of neutral zone, according to Hyslop, allowing for competitors and coaches from around the region to get together for training camps that attract coaches from as far away as Toronto.
Dolphin’s Head Coach Matt Taylor says their success is owed largely to founder Michelle DeConinck, “We are very indebted to her she’s the reason we’re here today.”
When DeConinck started the Dolphins they had eight to twelve swimmers, now the club’s enrollment has grown to 62. With each swimmer practicing in the pool two to three days per week, plus accessing the complex’s other facilities such as the weight room and cardio equipment there is very little time for them to find trouble says Hyslop.
“Swimming keeps so many kids out of trouble. We have here a bunch of hard working high-achievers with highly involved parents.”
National level athletes will practice ten to eleven times per week for two hours at a time, but swimming is not just about growing an Olympic athlete according to Hyslop.
“Every child deserves a healthy outlet, a sport is for life, and in a town surrounded by water, water safety is essential, every child needs to learn how to swim.”
Whether it is for fun, a chance to learn new skills or to go on to compete, one thing is for sure the kids love it. Dolphin’s swimmer Fiona Cook currently practices two days per week and says she will definitely join again next year.
“I love it! Its really fun, our coach is great!”