Fins successful outside

Katie Brickman
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New personal records were set in the final meet of the season for some Moose Jaw Kinsmen Flying Fins.

“We had 49 swimmers in the meet and they all swam very well,” said Gord Shields, coach for the Fins. “A lot of the young ones did extremely well.”

There were over 280 swimmers from across the province in town for the Mike Mintenko Summer Fest competition at the Phyllis DeWar outdoor pool this weekend.

“In the past number of years, this is the highest number of competitors. In the early ‘90s, we used to get those numbers when different business and sponsors in town sponsored it,” said Shields. “We tried to go back to that this year. We had a barbecue on Saturday and a magic show. We tried to make it a lot of fun for the swimmers this year.”

This event is usually successful because of the format, but it did change this year to include preliminaries and finals, which seemed to attract more swimmers.

“We were pleased with how they did and everything went well,” said Shields.

Joey Derksen competed in events on Saturday only as he prepares to travel to Montana this week for another competition.

He felt like this meet helps him prepare for his competitors he will see in the States.

“I did very well, except I only swam for one day,” Derksen said. “This was a good training session for Montana, but I think I could gain more practice time.”

Derksen said he likes the outdoor pool more than the indoor pool, but there are coaching challenges with taking the swimmers outside.

“When you are in an outdoor pool, you don’t have as good of perspective as to where you are because you don’t have the lines or the ceiling to watch,” explained Shields. “There is also a lot of glare off the pool. Even when you are on your front, you still have poor vision of where you are in the pool.”

Not only is there a difference in perspective, but also the swimmers must break through the mental barriers that can occur when going from inside to outside.

“It is that mental part of the racing to overcome that and learn to look through those different things and figure out where you are by using different markings in the pool or buildings around the pool,” said Shields. “It is an adjustment they have to make, which is hard for when they want to change their pace or do different stroke adjustments. That race strategy is hard when this can be a distraction to them mentally. They may not be as focused.”

Shields said it takes about a month for swimmers to make that transition from indoor to outdoor, but because of the rainy weather, the Fins only got two weeks to train.

“With the weather being so crappy, the training has not gone as well as I would have liked,” he said. “There were some things we just weren’t able to do because of the weather.”

Derksen and some of his fellow Fins will head to Montana this week for their final meet with some high expectations.

“I am hopefully going to win some of my races,” he said. “I believe they could have some potential, but I am confident in my ability.”

Geographic location: Montana

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