Mary Brown's Speech at RMSC's 40th Anniversary Celebration
Early in 1977 parents would drive their children to the pool that were involved with the Dolphin Swim Club. Rather than drive back and forth the parents would sit in the bleachers and watch the practice sessions, as well as chit chat. One morning all of a sudden one mother—namely Irene Harris—commented “What are we doing here watching our kids—we should be swimming ourselves”.
Needless to say after that comment there was great interest among the parents. Irene didn’t waste any time thinking of what would need to be done and started planning.
In March 1977, under the direction of Irene, a Masters Club was formed with Irene as President and with a coach—Ken McCuaig—swimming at the University pool. The initial membership was 30 and grew to 44 by the end of the year. After a few years a waiting list was established as we had more people wanting to join than there was room. We were very pleased with the interest the Club was getting. Individuals had to be 25 or over.
Irene always led us through pre-swim stretching exercises.
We held our first swim meet in June 1978. Cards were hand-written and given to the swimmer with results of each event they swam. We always had a social following a meet to enable us to socialize and get to know one another. Some of our members were kind enough to open their homes.
Later in the year we had meets for other clubs to participate as well as us travelling to other places—namely Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Humboldt, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg & local Y’s.
Following the card system at meets, it was then ribbons, trophies, plaques and medals.
When computers came into existence one of our swimmers—Alanna Watson (daughter of Ada Lou) put all the results on the computer. This was great and advanced even more as the years went by with Ken Demchuk writing a computer program and putting more info into the computer.
Many changes have taken place since 1977 with technology, a growing membership, coaches, strokes, rules, pool rentals, etc. We are now fortunate to have practices and coaches both at the University and the Lawson. Costs are much higher too than back in 1977.
Many of our swimmers have competed in Provincial, National and World competitions. Swimmers are getting faster and faster and many records are being made and then broken.
A few months ago our membership was at 85—it might be higher now and it is interesting that ages 50–59 is the most prominent with 23 swimmers in that age group.
Highlights throughout the years are:
- we hosted Nationals which was very successful both in swimming and social events we had all weekend.
- the club purchased the computer program Ken Demchuk created. We also purchased stop watches and lap counters.
- Canadian Summer Sports Festival was held.
- The Harris’s left to move to Lethbridge. As they were the go-getters starting the club we were sorry to lose them. We held a banquet and great evening for them at the University Club.
- In September the club entered a team in the Dragon Boat Races.
- Ada Lou Watson underwent a 4 heart by-pass and exactly one year later swam in a meet and continued to swim at practices and meets. Unfortunately within the past year she has been unable to participate but still has a great interest in the club.
- Saskatoon held a Provincial Meet and the Brown Family (mother & 3 daughters) entered a relay and managed to make a record in the 200 medley relay. I think this was a 1st family relay.
- Nationals was held in Calgary and I would like to add at this time that Calgary will host Nationals in 2018. Hopefully many of you will compete and maybe the Brown Family and other families will enter in some relays.
- we held Provincials and Saskatoon hosted Nationals.
- the World Master Games were held in Edmonton and several of our club competed in swimming and other sports.
- the FINA games (all water sports) was held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. My Daughter Marj & I attended this meet.
- World Master Games were in Sydney, Australia with a few of us going to compete.
- a swim camp was organized and held in Maui with several members attending.
- We also had various clinics consisting of exercises, nutrition, meet preparation, techniques and motivation.
- A digital clock was purchased and donated to the University.
I hope this has given all of you an insight into our club—what started out small, has grown in numbers, accomplishments and gaining so much in 40 years. I think we can all be proud of a great club and continue to be successful in the next 10 years when we celebrate 50 years.
I would like to express a big thank you to Jenn Austin for arranging this evening and many thanks to those who have been on the Executive, committees, etc. Let us all continue to strive to reach 50 years and more.
I feel our aim is fitness, fun, friendship, participation and keeping forever young.