With a grand display of skill in the water, and a name to match, the Cochrane Masters Swim Club celebrates their 30th year of being in the pool and the community.
The club first came as an idea at the old Town of Cochrane Pool. The pool manager at the time, RoseAnne MacGregor and the head lifeguard, Suzanne Gaida, worked together to bring the idea to fruition.
Originally known as the Cochrane Coelacanths, named after an ancient fish that was considered to be extinct, they eventually evolved into the current Cochrane Masters Swim Club.
With multiple coaches and members serving with the club for several reasons, a few have made their mark across Alberta, including Joan Gunn-Allard who hold the provincial record In Women’s 100m and 200m backstroke.
The club’s focus has changed over the years, depending on the coaches and current members. Competitive swimming has always been an option, but some members focus on swim meets, longer open-water swims, and even triathlons.
Current coach for the Cochrane Masters Swim Club, Amy Swedlo, said when she first moved to Cochrane in 2007, she originally started as a swimmer before taking on her current role. From competitive to causal swimmers, she works with all club members to help them reach their goals.
“I’m so proud to be part of the Cochrane Masters,” Swedlo said. “It’s local and they’re always trying new things.”
A new feature is being introduced to the club is their Intro to Master’s program that aims to introduce new swimmers to competitive swimming. With two program days in the week, Swedlo said it is popular with new swimmers and she hopes to offer more sessions that can welcome more people.
“There’s a lot of people who are like – Oh, I don’t know how to swim, but I want to do swim fitness,” Rose said. “So, there are lessons for that, but learning to swim and learning to swim with the masters, there’s a bridge there.”
Regardless of how swimmers look to participate, the club outlines that they are inclusive with several Special Olympic swimmers who graduated from their ranks, those who never took the dive becoming aces in the water, and anyone who shares the same love of swimming.
Six-year member, Kari Rose, said everyone is welcome to the club. As someone who was never a big swimmer, she said she first got into the pool after doing triathlons, which led to her being part of the Cochrane Masters.
“I saw this as an awesome opportunity to be accountable to a club, and to get the coaching that I felt that I needed to be successful in races,” Rose said.
As they hit their 30th anniversary, Rose said the transition from the old Cochrane Pool to the new facility in the SLS Centre has been great and she anticipates that the club will continue to grow.
“Cochrane will keep growing as a community and I see this as an amazing opportunity to be part of the culture [and] club that’s all-inclusive, and to grow as a person and athlete, then this is the place for you” Rose said.
Swedlo said all members of the Cochrane Masters are fun to work with and enjoys being part of the club. She would also like to extend a special thanks to coaches Joan Gumn Allard and Max Kruger.
The Cochrane Masters Swim Club will be hosting the Foothills Master Swim Club swim meet on Feb. 3 at the SLS Centre.
For those interested in being part of the Cochrane Masters, their spring sessions start on Feb. 21 with registration opening on Feb. 1. For more information on the Cochrane Masters Swim Club, please visit cmsc.poolq.net.