The Estevan Golden Eels swim club has established themselves as the class of the province in summer speed swimming in the last few years.
And now they have started get ready for the upcoming season, as they hope to add to their dynasty.
The Golden Eels have been holding practices at the RM of Estevan Aquatic Centre since May 1. They meet from 4-6 p.m. each day from Monday to Thursday.
“Friday is an elective practice. If you want to come and work on a certain skill, every week it changes,” said head coach Colin Sutter.
The practices have been going well, he said. They try to have at least two coaches in the water at all times, giving the swimmers some one-on-one team to build their skills.
“I really think the improvements are already noticeable in Week 2,” said Sutter.
About 50 young people are part of the club this year. Sutter said it’s a fairly stable number, but he believes they might have a few more swimmers in the younger age groups.
There’s a six-and-under program that serves as an entry level for the club, followed by several other age groups: seven and eight-year-olds, nine and 10-year-olds, 11 and 12-year-olds, and 13 and up.
“I’m quite content. I think we have a good amount for the number of coaches we have, and I’m really proud of the turnout,” said Sutter.
Four junior coaches are also part of the program: Jaiden Jocelyn, Adien DeLeeuw, Charlotte Andrist and Hannah Mantei. Erin Wilson is also providing assistance.
The club will hold a mini meet in early June that will give them a chance to get younger swimmers accustomed to what happens at a full-fledged meet. Then they will have their first regular meet out of town in June.
Their home meet will happen July 13. The provincial meet will be July 27 and 28 in Rosetown.
The Eels will be seeking their sixth straight provincial title this year. Sutter said he is nervous entering the season, because the team has done so well in the past.
“There is a little bit of pressure there, to fill some pretty big shoes,” said Sutter. “But I’m excited to give it a try.”
The success experienced in recent years also makes it easier to bring in kids for the team.
“It makes it much easier to encourage kids to join the team when there’s lots of winning and lots of strong competition everywhere,” he said.