By Jonathan Guignard
The swim club in Magrath started off another season of swimming on Monday with two high profile names in attendance for the first swim clinic of the summer.
Rachel Nicol and Ryan Thornley of the Lethbridge Amateur Swim Club lent their expertise to swimmers and coaches at the Magrath Mako Sharks Swim Club.
Nicol and Thornley both participated in the 2016 Olympic Trials held in Toronto. Nicol was selected to represent Canada at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
Having them come out to Magrath is something that was much to the delight of the club president Geralyn L’Heureux.
“It’s pretty amazing to be in the water with the calibre that Ryan and Rachel both are. Ryan has gone to Olympic trials three times and Rachel is the fastest woman in Canada in the 100 metre breaststroke. The kids got quite a bit out of it,” said L’Heureux.
For Thornley, this is the second year in a row where he has come to Magrath and participated in their swim clinics.
“It’s important to reach out to the smaller swimming communities and nice to get kids excited about swimming. The coolest thing was bringing Rachel Nicol with me this time,” said Thornley.
L’Heureux reached out to Nicol and was thrilled when she said she would love to come out. Nicol jumped at the chance to help these kids learn more about the sport and to give them a different perspective of swimming.
“It opens their eyes towards a different level of competitive swimming that they may not usually see. It also gives them a different take on what they get from their coaches, parents or teammates,” said Nicol.
The kids weren’t the only ones who benefited from the presence of Nicol and Thornley. The coaches were able to learn a few things as well.
“They (Nicol and Thornley) bring a real ability to break down strokes. How to get one hand movement to the next or one foot movement to the next or how to transition from reaching in the breaststroke to the pull out to the kick and the timing,” said L”Heureux.
“They are really good at showing the coaches how to break those strokes down.”
Nicol doesn’t have a lot of experience with coaching, but said the clinic gave her and Thornley an opportunity to give the coaches a little more to work with when teaching the kids.
“It gives them a broader spectrum of drills and skill work that they can do that they might not know about. There’s endless possibilities to things you can do to improve your swimmers. That’s what we were there to teach,” said Nicol.
Swim clinics run throughout the summer. For more information contact Geralyn L’Heureux at the Magrath Mako Sharks Swim Club.