Synchro and safety in the water in Hay River

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Seven-year-old Kaislea King participates in Making Waves, which were two days of activities last week at the swimming pool sponsored by the Mackenzie Recreation Association. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Seven-year-old Kaislea King participates in Making Waves, which were two days of activities last week at the swimming pool sponsored by the Mackenzie Recreation Association.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

Making Waves – a program of the Mackenzie Recreation Association – made its first-ever appearance in Hay River last week.

Ashley Coombs, the aquatics supervisor for the Town of Hay River, explained that Making Waves was divided into two days of distinct activities.

On March 28, there were a couple of hours in which young swimmers could try synchronized swimming.

“We’ve never had a synchronized swimming program before, and it was just a try synchro session to see any interested individuals who maybe didn’t really know a heck of a lot about it or maybe they’re seen it and thought, ‘Hey, that would be really neat,'” said Coombs. “So we just threw it out there to see what we could get in the community and who would be interested.”

In all, nine girls showed up, aged from seven to 12 years.

“It was a fantastic turnout and they did super,” said Coombs.

“We’re hoping to possibly develop and put a little pilot program out there with respect to offering a synchro program, maybe for an eight-week session or something to try this out,” she added. “And work on a little routine for the girls to possibly showcase to parents, and see if this isn’t something that could not materialize into being a little program that is offered at the pool.”

The young swimmers were instructed by Sophie Kirby of Yellowknife.

On March 29, Making Waves turned to safety demonstrations in a Water Smart Day.

Water safety stations were set up around the pool deck to talk about things like ice safety, boat safety, swimming to survive, the dangers of open water, and the proper use of lifejackets.

Coombs said people could circulate around those stations and listen to presentations from the pool’s lifeguards, which featured some in-water activities and fun games, community education and safety tips.

“We just want some good water messages out there, especially to let people know in terms of ice safety,” she added.

Making Waves is a program that evolved from the former Mackenzie Regional Swim Meet.

“What we found over the years is that there’s been a drift away from the competitive swimming aspect, and then more of a desire to learn aquatic literacy, get experience in the pool, try out new water-based activities and learn about water safety,” said Jessica Van Overbeek, the executive director of the Mackenzie Recreation Association. “So that’s how Making Waves has kind of come into form in the last three to five years.”

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