EDMONTON – The city known for the great Oilers teams of the 1980s has a new championship squad – the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club.
The 35-member squad made club history at the recent Speedo Western Canadian Swimming Championships in New Westminster, B.C. EKSC took all three banners – the men’s title, the women’s title as well as the overall team title – a first in team history.
It also clinched the overall East/West banner by outscoring the top Eastern Canadian team by 187 points. It is the first time in the 12-year history of the meet that any team claimed all four titles.
And they achieved this with a solid all-around showing from every swimmer on the team.
“It’s quite an achievement,” said Derrick Schoof, head coach at the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club. “We went into the meet with the team competition mindset.”
Schoof says the team aspect is an important component of a swimmer’s development. He agrees that events like the East/West meets and the CIS championships keep the athletes in the frame of mind that every race is important.
“When you race not only for yourself but for your teammates it certainly brings the best out of each individual,” said Schoof, who was named head coach at Keyano in 2011. “It can bring a kid a lot of confidence.”
The support and cheers by his pupils for each other is what Schoof remembers most fondly from the competition.
“The noise we made for each other was deafening,” said Schoof. “It just brought up everyone’s level of fun. It emphasizes that team spirit and makes for a much better experience for the athletes at all levels whether you’re in the A final, B final or relays.”
Top performances came from Ryder McGinnis, age 16, who set meet records in all three breaststroke events. Ellie Maradyn, age 12, gave a standout performance by setting a new Alberta provincial record in the 200-m breaststroke and Georgia Kidd won the 15-and-under Swim of the Meet for her performance in the 100-m backstroke. The team compiled 35 medals along with the four banners.
Schoof realizes it’s even harder to stay at the top but won’t change his recipe for success.
“We instill a culture of positivity along with fun, excellence and hard work,” he said. “We are all pulling in the same direction and in this together. We’ve had a great run of success over the last couple of seasons. We hope we’ve created an environment that will not only produce kids from within but attract some swimmers from across Canada.”
Now there is another team to contribute to Edmonton’s moniker as “City of Champions.”