News that John Rhodes Community Centre would be reopening July 15th was cause for celebration for Sault Surge Aquatic Team, who put training on hold March 16th due to COVID-19. For a sport that trains nearly year-round, a 17-week hiatus was a difficult hurdle. During the extended break from swimming, club members took it upon themselves to keep active by engaging in walks, runs, and bike rides around their neighbourhoods. The team embarked upon a virtual cross-country challenge by recording these activities and calculating the combined daily distance and comparing it to the total distance of the Trans-Canada Highway. Collectively, the team has traversed over 6700 kilometres of virtual Canadian soil to date, placing them in Newfoundland.
The return to training has been an interesting one, involving detailed entry and exit instructions, screening questions and temperature checks, lane assignments, and face masks. While this “new normal” poses challenges to their typical training process, the team has embraced these challenges head-on because the chance to get back to swimming is worth the effort. Swimmers have missed out on a lot of events up to this point, including Olympic Trials, regional competitions in Sudbury and Kirkland Lake, as well as their annual Awards Night. Luckily, the team’s accomplishments were recognized in an online capacity with a Virtual Awards Night held live via YouTube.
Swimmers and their families were able to connect live at 6:30pm on Wednesday, June 24th to celebrate a season full of triumphs and memories. Additionally, they got to see all their coaches and hear a keynote speech from former Olympian Martha McCabe. Sault Surge recognizes swimmers for a number of different accomplishments, including earning FINA points, dropping time in competition, being a great leader, and representing the club well. Winners for the 2019-2020 season were:
Ella Rocca, Ethan Haas, Raili Kary, and Alec Seccareccia – Junior and Senior Outstanding Performance Awards
Georgia Burns, Andrew Li, Haley MacFarlane, and Will Banton – Junior and Senior Most Improved Awards
Alex Bravener and Cam Hutton – Junior and Senior Dr. Hui Lee Memorial Spirit Awards
Oliver Bennetto – Nancy Mancuso Memorial Award
Lauren Bowden – Coach’s Award
Liana Seccareccia and Greg Hutton – Bob Dumanski Memorial Volunteers of the Year Awards
Emma Vallee, David Lloyd, Sophia Li, Jasper Tchir, Brie Reid, Alexander Orazietti, Emma Broadbent, and Ethan Murphy – PULSE Awards (Perseverance, Upgrowth, Leadership, Sportsmanship, Enthusiasm)
The team also recognizes swimmers leaving the program as they graduate high school:
Paige Banton, St. Mary’s College, heading to Marshall University on a swimming scholarship to study Sciences
Julie Delorme, St. Mary’s College, heading to Nipissing University to study Math and French
Elisa Dumanski, Korah C&V School, heading to Queen’s university to study Engineering
Raili Kary, St. Mary’s College, heading to University of Toronto on a swimming scholarship to study Engineering
Riley Reid, Superior Heights C&V School, heading to Sault College to study Engineering
Olivia Starzomski, Superior Heights C&V School, heading to Michigan State University on a swimming scholarship to study Criminal Justice
Congratulations are due to all Surge swimmers as they completed a short, yet successful, season. The team had many new members, several broken records, a lot of new skills acquired, and plenty of fun. Thanks are also due to the staff at JRCC, the City of Sault Ste. Marie, and Algoma Public Health, who all provided excellent guidance through COVID-19, including recommendations to shut down in March as well as re-open in July. We are proud to represent this community and are grateful for the concern over the team’s and the city’s well-being.