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Swim team set for first meet of the year - Jul. 18, 2014


Vern Faulkner/Courier
Joe Grant, 15, works on his butterfly stroke. Grant and other local swimmers will compete in a swim meet Saturday.

Chris Roberts
St. Stephen
The W. T. Booth Centennial Pool in St. Stephen will be bustling with action on Saturday morning as the Bordertown Barracudas host its annual invitational swim meet.
“It should be fun,” said swim team coach Sam Backman. “It’s going to be a lot of the kids first time (competing).”
This year, the Barracudas team is comprised of roughly 60 kids 19-and-under, with more than half of them in their first year on the team.
“Over half our team is new; I think they’re excited,” Backman explained.
Saturday’s meet is set to begin at 9 a.m., with a 15-minute warm-up for the teams competing. Races will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the eight-and-under age category, one of the five that divides the competitors.
Other age groupings are nine-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-19.
Swimmers will compete in the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, as well as an individual medley, which is all four strokes together.
“And then there is a team relay,” said Backman.
Fortunately enough, with so many swimmers on the team, the Barracudas won’t lack energy in any of the day’s races.
“We try to make it so that each swimmer gets to do three events plus relays,” Backman said. “We’re lucky that we have that many that we can cover those bases.”
So far, only Hampton’s swim team has confirmed its attendance for Saturday’s meet, but Backman anticipates teams from Sussex and Calais to make the trip.
“I’m not sure yet, but (Hampton) usually brings about 30 kids down,” he said. “It’s always good when there’s a lot of people there.”
The Barracudas recently completed a pair of fundraising efforts in order to purchase new swimsuits as well as hoodies and other equipment.
This past weekend, the club hosted a swimathon, in which members aimed at getting sponsorship money for each lap they swam around the W.T. Booth Memorial Pool.
Most of the money was contributed through friends, family, and neighbourhood canvassing, and while only about one fourth of the club’s swimmers participated, the funds generated made the event a great success.
“We only had about 15 kids come through but we made about $800, so that was good,” Backman stated.
He said there was a nine-year-old swimmer who successfully completed 120 laps of the pool, while Emily Brown, 11, was told she would receive 50 cents per completed lap from family members; she did 115.
Two weekends before, the club hosted a barbecue and car wash at Border Area Community Arena, which, after expenses, netted $900.
The barbecue was held from 10-2 p.m., and there was some fortunate timing working with the swim team, said Backman.
“Right when we finished at 2 o’clock, two transport (trucks) showed up, and we washed them.”
That money has allowed the team to purchase new swim suits, which just arrived this week in time for the meet, one in which will be a completely different experience for Backman, who recently turned 20 and is ineligible to compete.
“This will be my first year not competing,” he said, noting that, “I’ll be watching, cheering from the side.”
Backman has been swimming in these competitions since he was seven, and though he’s now unable to participate, he’s still just as active on the coaching front, and will lend all the support he can on Saturday.
“We always cheer them on and make sure we remind them as they’re swimming how to finish the race. Hopefully they can hear us under the water,” he said, with a laugh.

chris@stcroixcourier.ca