RECORD BREAKERS – Raj Ahluwalia-Pullam, Brooke Kuch, Amelia Putkaradze, and Erin Maloney celebrate gold at the 2014 Speedo Alberta Provincials.
SONY AHLUWALIA/Supplied photo
Local swimmers Raj Ahluwalia-Pullam, Brooke Kuch, Amelia Putkaradze and Erin Maloney from the Olympian Swim Club broke two provincial relay records last weekend at the 2014 Speedo Provincial Swim Championships.
The 10-and-under team captured the records with incredible times of 2:14.52 in the 200m Freestyle Relay and 2:30.63 in the 200m Medley Relay.
“We were all trying to set personal bests,” said Maloney. “I think we did great. We worked hard in practice and pushed each other to get better.”
At nine years old Maloney is the youngest member of the team, but that doesn't bother her. “We train together as a team,” said Maloney.
“It's been awesome to see them develop,” said Lauren deLeeuw, a swim coach for the club. “The girls have been working so hard. I'm happy for them.”
The team swims eight to ten hours a week with the club to prepare for competitions.
“The young ones are really the base,” said deLeeuw. “They're the ones who are coming up and will be taking over for us in the future. When the base is really good the whole club benefits.”
The four swimmers will take the rest of July and August off before returning to the pool in September, deLeeuw told us.
“I'm looking forward to swimming again,” said Maloney.
This comes as no surprise to Maloney's coaches.
“Erin (Maloney) is really competitive, she hates to get out of the pool,” said Colby Starman, a swim coach for the Olympian Swim Club (OSC).
Starman told the St. Albert Gazette that Maloney's drive is what makes her such a tough competitor at swim meets.
“She really wants to be the best,” said Starman. “It bothers her when she isn't the fastest person in the water. She just wants it a lot and it shows.”
Starman coaches for Olympian Way, a division of the OSC that works with children aged 8 to 11, at Fountain Park Recreation Centre.
“It makes a big difference at the club when the other swimmers see the girls do something amazing like this,” said Starman. “They start to think, ‘Erin just broke a record? I can do that. I know Erin, I swim with her every week.' Whenever someone does well at a competition it elevates the whole team.”
The Olympian Swim Club celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The club has made a name for itself as one of the best competitive swimming clubs in Canada for developing younger swimmers.
“Our program is designed to allow swimmers to develop at their own pace,” said Starman. “We don't want someone to be stressed out and think that they're supposed to be swimming at a level they aren't ready for yet. It's about working together to improve as a group.”
The coaches told the St. Albert Gazette that a new strength and conditioning program implemented by the OSC has helped bring the club to the next level.
“We've been doing lots of dry-land training,” said Starman. “For my swimmers, three times a week we do an hour in the water and a half an hour out of the water. Then on Saturdays we do an hour in the water and an hour dry. It's made a big difference in their times.”
Starman and deLeeuw wished the team a good summer and wanted to thank them for their hard work in practice this year.
“I think they'll just keep beating their times and getting better,” said deLeeuw. “I'm so excited to see what they can do at 15, 17, 18 … they'll keep winning.”
Anyone interested in joining the Olympian Swim Club can apply for the rookie camp held at the start of each swimming season in September. The camp will be run at the Fountain Park Recreation Centre.