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Barrhead Swim Club goes to first meet of the season

Swimmers shave collectively more than five minutes off their previous personal best times
The Barrhead Swim Club swimmers pose for a group picture at the conclusion of a swim meet in Spruce Grove on Oct. 21 and 22.

BARRHEAD - Swimmers from the Barrhead Swim Club competed in their first swim meet of the Swim Alberta winter club season.

On Oct. 21 and 22, Barrhead Swim Club swimmers competed in the Spruce Grove Pirates annual swim meet at the Tri Leisure Centre, shaving more than five minutes off their collective personal best times.

"We also had 76 personal best times, 26 from swimmers competing at their first-ever meet," said assistant coach Jenn Thistle. "Which is pretty impressive considering the size of our club to the others out there."

Head coach Kylee Meunier also noted that Barrhead Swim Club had 10 swimmers who finished in the Top 10 in their events.

And two swimmers, Robert Williams and William Thomsen, Thistle interjected, qualified for what the Pirates called the "Swminator", a series of 25-metre freestyle heats to see who the meet's quickest swimmer is. 

Williams made it to the second round before being eliminated, while Thompson bowed out in the first round.

All the swimmers had to compete in at least three events: the 50-metre fly, 100 and 200-metre individual medley, the 50-metre freestyle, and the 50 and 100-metre breast.

"The basic events to get everyone used to how a swim meet works again," Meunier said.

The Barrhead Swim Club's 2023-2024 season started in mid-September with 35 swimmers ranging from seven to 17 years old, up about 15 from the previous season. They meet four days a week and are grouped into two pairings: one that swims on Mondays and Wednesdays and on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Senior swimmers practice from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., while the younger swimmers, i.e. their first three years, is six to seven.

This season will be Meunier's first full season as head coach after she took over from Thistle in January.

She noted it came as a perfect time for everyone involved, saying that Thistle, originally from Barrhead but now lives in Edmonton, was looking to downscale her involvement because the bi-weekly community was getting difficult. 

At the same time, Meunier was looking for a new volunteer opportunity, saying she had regularly volunteered at the Stollery Children's Hospital before the pandemic.

"Last December, I happened to be at the [Barrhead swimming pool] with a friend when I ran into Fred [Thistle], and I asked him if there was anything I could do to help the club," she said.

At the time, Fred was helping his daughter coach the club, and he knew that she was looking to reduce her role.

Meunier had been family friends with the Thistles as the two coaches had swam together as part of the Barrhead Swim Club since they were about eight years old, dating back to the old Barrhead Aquatics Centre.

And although the Spruce Grove was the club's first swim meet, it will not be its last. 

Meunier said, typically, the club tries to go to one swim meet a month, as "that's the fun of it," she added the pace will pick up a bit, as the club hopes to go to four swim, meets between now and the Christmas break.

Barry Kerton,


Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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