Inconnu Keeps Swimming Amidst Trying Year

Jessica Baccante-Modde

Provincial health regulations regarding sports and COVID-19 have changed many times throughout the past 11 months and have forced many clubs to constantly change how they are doing things.

Though the pandemic has certainly affected this season and the sport of swimming, the Inconnu Swim Club has been able to stay on top of the restrictions all year.

Competitive swim meets have been prohibited all season, but as the Inconnu is a youth club, it’s been able to stay open consistently. Swimmers have been participating in practices with no actual competitions in place for five months now, a testament to their love of the sport and commitment to the club.

“It’s been a trying year, and we’ve dedicated most of our time to keeping on top of COVID-19 restrictions, that’s been our biggest priority and has taken up most of our time. We’re still in the water and that’s to be celebrated because a lot of clubs across Canada are restricted from their pools,” said club president Alexa Rogers. “We are happy to be in the pool even if things look different.”

The Inconnu has had to cut the number of swimmers it can have this year in half, to allow for social distancing restrictions in the pool. However, all of those spots were claimed, and the interest in swimming this year remains high.

“We know the minute restrictions are lifted, we can let more swimmers in,” Rogers said.

New coach Josh Sorensen has been successful in designing a program centred around training, and doing everything the right way.

“Staying motivated has been hard for the kids this year, but they know it’s temporary and they have been working really hard. They will be ready for meets as soon as the time comes, but they do miss the meets and the travel” Rogers said.

There have been virtual swim meets held through Swim BC, where kids can submit their best times from practice to go up against swimmers from across B.C.

Another thing that’s been a boost to the swimmers is the news former Inconnu member Cale Murdock has been invited to the Canadian Olympic Swim Trials. Though he swam with the club before most of the Inconnu’s current executive, coaches ,and swimmers were involved, it’s a big inspiration.

“We’ve been celebrating it. Not many of us knew him, but he’s one of our own and we’re so proud. He started at age 10, and that’s proof to our kids that you can start in a small town at a young age and go on to excellence,” said Rogers. “It proves his dedication to the sport has paid off, and it means a lot that he credits his love of the sport to his time with Inconnu.”

Inconnu will also be getting a brand new Turnmaster Pro in the near future, thanks to the $5,000 it received from the Fort St. John 2020 BC Winter Games Legacy Grant.

The Turnmaster is a bulkhead unit that shortens the pool so swimmers can practice their turns more often, instead of having to travel the full lap distance before each turn.

“We’re excited about that addition. Any of those things we can add, it helps us train that much better,” said Rogers.

Swimmers of the month: January

Featured - Alex McDonald

Alex has been one of the fastest risers in the club despite being one of the oldest swimmers. While unofficial, Alex swam under the provincial mark in three races culminating in a Western time in the 100 breast that he was able to hit this mark in practice makes it all the more impressive.

But these times didn’t come from nowhere, Alex’s determinate work ethic and dedication to improvement has paved they way for this success to occur.

Junior - Lane Stahl

Lane has made huge strides these last couple weeks, a lot of it on the back of increased attention and focus on swimming and listening. He comes with a positive attitude everyday and looks happy to continue learning.

Novice - Ian Brand

Ian received swimmer of the month due to his adaptable and resilient attitude as well as overall improvement in his Backstroke swim.