BARRHEAD - BARRHEAD - Next year, when the Barrhead Swim Club walks out on a pool deck at a swim meet, all eyes will be upon them.
Not only because their reputation precedes them because of how well they've performed at past meets, which has been impressive, but also due to their new pool apparel.
The swimmer's new duds will come because of a $4,000 donation from the Barrhead Elks. The Elks made the donation to the swim club during a short presentation at the Barrhead Regional Aquatic Centre before swimmers hit the pool for their Jan. 22 practice.
Swim club parent and board member Angela Pierik said since the club rebooted following the closure of the old aquatics centre, they have been going to an ever-increasing amount of swim meets in other communities where they meet other swim clubs from all over the province.
"We often encounter clubs from the city that have matching attire and look really good outfitted in matching $250 jackets, and here we are in our rinky-dink T-shirts," she said. "And that can impact their self-esteem and make them feel like they don't belong. But they do, and their performances show that they do."
President Daniella Wierenga agreed, adding that four Barrhead Swim Club swimmers have qualified for the prestigious Winter Festival North swim meet in Sherwood Park.
"It is like provincials, but for younger swimmers 11 and under," she said. "And next year, when our swimmers qualify for meets like this, they will also look the part."
Swim club board members Kelly Ferguson and Lindsay Ellwein also noted having proper swim club uniforms will also help advertise the club, which is much needed after they were forced to take a four-year hiatus due to the closure of the old swimming pool.
As a result of the closure, when the club resumed operations, they said it was more challenging to find swim meets for their swimmers.
Due to the limited number of lanes in a swimming pool, it often limits the number of clubs they can invite, and they invite known entities.
They said the club was starting to become known again when the pandemic hit, stalling any momentum they had gained.
"It is almost like we have had to rebuild the club twice," Ellwein said.
However, she added that the club is on the upswing again, and they have doubled their membership from last year.
Since they resumed operations, the club also hopes to host its first swim meet later this year.
"It wouldn't be an official meet, meaning their times won't count, but it will be a great way for us as a club to get some experience in putting on a meet and as well as give some of the smaller clubs in the area swimmer more exposure a swim meet environment," Wierenga added.