Partnerships go swimmingly well

The key to success for Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks





Michael Neufeld

Special to the Record

It doesn’t seem to matter where you look these days you’ll find that you can’t get very far without supportive partnerships.  Often times our goals and successes depend on them.

Whether we look towards the teacher student partnerships that help motivate and support our kids or the encouragement and stability that are derived from our family partnerships one thing is true – we rely on them overwhelmingly for our growth and development.

The Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks recently wrapped up one of their most successful seasons on record, and it gave me pause for thought. What kinds of partnerships have made for a successful Sharks’ season?

I guess the first one that comes to mind would be the partnerships between the swimmers, their parents and their coaches. When you are first starting out in any new sporting endeavour you rely on the guidance of the coaching staff around you who have the patience, and expertise to help you develop the skills needed for athletic development.

Weaving between the threads of coaching instruction and swimmer efforts comes the ongoing encouragement that comes from the parents on the pool deck.  Sometimes that is the only thing that separates a swimmer from getting out of the pool forever or deciding to push on and give it “one more time.”

And sometimes that “one more time” is the only thing standing in the way of developing an attitude of success for whatever life endeavours kids may undertake. There is nothing quite like watching the joy and satisfaction spread across a child’s face when they achieve something that is meaningful to them. The praise for a well completed stroke or the knowledge that today’s time was an improvement on a previous time.  These “PB’s” or personal bests are what swimming is all about – the pursuit of personal excellence that mark you as someone who has done something today that you were not able to do yesterday.

Lots of success

If my observations this year from the pool deck are any indication then there are a tremendous amount of successes out there. Every child swimming in the club this year has no doubt had the opportunity to be challenged by their initial abilities and limitations and to move beyond those into the exciting realm of new possibilities.

Kids at every program level offered by the club – from the introductory Shark School, where a 25m swim is basic entry criteria, to the Provincial and National training squads who compete at elite level meets – have had the opportunity to share in the self-satisfaction of these achievements.

There is a confidence that comes from the knowledge that they have achieved something that not too long ago was deemed impossible. It’s that feeling that propels kids to dream to achieve greater things and take on bigger challenges both in the pool and out in the world of playground games, academics and relationships.  They learn not to gauge themselves on what they can do currently but on what they are truly capable of doing through perseverance and hard work in the future. Partnerships are the basis for this success.

Key partnership

There is another type of partnership that is also required for successful days in the pool, albeit a seldom-recognized one.  This is the partnership that take place out in the community between individuals, organizations and businesses who support the CVAC Sharks and all of the kids who strive to compete and have fun each and every day when they don their caps and goggles.

You may have even been part of this partnership yourself by supporting club swimmers who braved the damp weather on one of their Tag Days at the local malls to help raise funds for the club, or supported them at the Canada Day cotton candy sales booth on July 1.

What you may not be aware of though are some of the community businesses that quietly support the club behind the scenes. For the last three years we have had the privilege of being supported by Jaime McDowell and Steve Schmidt from Coastal Physiotherapy.  Not only have they provided the highest quality of sports medicine and physiotherapy available to our athletes but also they have been significant and generous financial donors to the club through our team wear program.

If you look closely at the sleeves of the shirts proudly worn by our swimmers at meets and team events you will see the bright orange and white wave logo of Coastal Physiotherapy.  You may have seen it before and may even recognize it on a professional level, or perhaps you might recognize it on a personal level if you have received treatment from them, but perhaps more importantly I hope you will see them on a different level – as one of the champions and supporters of the kids in the Comox Valley where we all live.

Too often these days it seems that kids don’t receive as much support as they deserve, but through partnerships like these, whether they be those from parents, teachers, coaches or community minded business like Coastal Physiotherapy we can make a difference in the lives the youngest members of our community.

So the next time you see a Shark smiling at the pool, on the street or in the paper proudly wearing their team shirt, think about the partnerships behind the smiles that make all the difference.


If you have any questions about the swimming programs offered by the Comox Valley Aquatic Club Sharks or are interested in being a Community Partnership Supporter, click or call Loretta at 250-339-7295.



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