After rising from the ashes last year, the Airdrie Phoenix Swim Club (APSC) is readying itself for its second season.
Formed in August 2019, APSC offers competitive and pre-competitive programs for swimmers in Airdrie and area. According to the club’s president, Chad Phillips, most of the club’s swimmers were previously Airdrie-based members of the Canadian Badlands Aquatic Club (CBAC), which operates out of Drumheller.
“The CBAC board at the time made a decision at the end of the previous swim season that they were going to amalgamate all training to Drumheller, which didn’t work for any of the families [in Airdrie] because they trained between 4 and 6 p.m. during the weeks and high schools don’t let out until 3:45 p.m.,” he said.
In June 2019, he said, a group of former CBAC families in Airdrie decided to apply to Swim Alberta to form a new local club. Phillips said the application was successful, and APSC was granted club status that August.
“If I’m not mistaken, it was the first swim club in a decade they had awarded,” he said.
“It didn’t look promising from the beginning, but we thought we’d try anyway and ended up getting one.”
Last year, the club had 25 registered swimmers, who trained in the pool at Genesis Place Recreation Centre. While the club only has a dozen athletes registered for 2020-21 so far, Phillips said APSC expects to enroll up to 20 swimmers for its second season.
“We’re just a small swim club, and it’s all based upon lane availability,” he said. “Depending what level the swimmers are at, we’ll peak out at 35 swimmers.”
The club’s members range in age, with some as young as six or seven and others in their teens. One member is in her early 20s, Phillips added.
The club’s inaugural season was a success, according to Phillips, as every APSC swimmer dropped their times and posted personal bests.
Two of the club’s swimmers also qualified for the Winter Festival South – a quasi-provincial competition for the U11 age group – while another few qualified for the Swim Alberta Provincials in March, he said.
“We didn’t get to compete because of COVID, but they did qualify for provincials,” Phillips said.
While being able to compete in meets may not be possible due to the pandemic, Phillips said Swim Alberta is looking at several options for competitions in 2020-21.
In the meantime, he said APSC will continue to offer training sessions this fall, adhering to cohorting rules and health and safety protocols implemented by Alberta Health Services, Swim Alberta and Genesis Place.
The cost to register for APSC depends on which program level the swimmer is in, Phillips said. The full-year pre-competitive program, which includes 34 Saturday sessions, is $800. The Copper program, which includes three practices a week, starts at $1,483 a year, while the Gold program, which includes five sessions a week, is up to $2,575.
To help offset costs, Phillips said the club aims to hold four fundraisers per year.
“We don’t just do fundraisers to do fundraisers, but pick very profitable ones to do because we value our parents’ time,” he said.
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