Swimming great lengths for funds

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Tessa Jenks spent almost two hours swimming from one side of the pool to the other 200 times to raise money for the Mackenzie Muskrat Swim Club.

Coaches and parents keep count as swimmers complete as many lengths of the pool as they can during a fundraiser Wednesday, April 19. - Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo
Coaches and parents keep count as swimmers complete as many lengths of the pool as they can during a fundraiser Wednesday, April 19. – Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

“I was really tired at the end, but it was worth it,” said 10-year-old Jenks. “Our team got a lot of money.”

She raised $1,145 for her efforts.

The event was an annual swim challenge where members of the swim club seeks pledges or donations and raise money per the amount of lengths of the pool they complete. The young athletes completed the laps consecutively, without getting out of the pool for a break.

Jenks is in her third year with the swim club and enjoys the opportunities it provides.

“It’s really good to practise and go travelling to different places,” she said.

The club will be going to a Yellowknife swim meet in May, and just about everyone on the team will compete.

Jenks says she needs to work on her distance freestyle. Last time she competed in Yellowknife, she did a 400m free swim.

“I’m not sure if I’m going to do that again, but if I do, I want to be practising for it,” she said.

Kendall McDonald, one of the club’s coaches, said the Yellowknife event will be the first meet for a lot of the younger swimmers.

“We’ll still concentrate on their swimming, but now we’ll have to concentrate on some of the rules,” he said.

There are a lot of stipulations around technical aspects of each event, such as how many hands are used to touch at each end and how to start the race without getting disqualified.

“We’re going to work a little bit towards that over the next couple weeks,” said McDonald.

Following the Yellowknife event, the club will hold its own meet in Inuvik in June.

That will be the end of the season for most swimmers, but some will continue practising for larger events.

Jenna Guy and Kierra McDonald will be heading to Canada Games in Winnipeg this August to compete in swimming events while Julienne Chipesia, Marshall Brown, Kyra Buckle, Hannah Gordon-Rogers and Tatum Mistaken Chief will be heading to the North American Indigenous Games in July.

Kendall thanked everyone who sponsored the youth for the swim challenge. The total amount raised was not available at press time.