GANDER, N.L. — Tim Rowsell is one proud coach.
The Gander Lakers swim team, which he coached through four seasons, is breaking all kinds of club records.
The team recently competed in the Eastern Canadian National swim meet in Windsor, Ontario where each swimmer competed individually and as part of a relay team.
The team set new club records in the 200-meter free relay, the 100-meter and the 100-meter free swim.
Individually, Nick Rowsell set a new club record in the 100-meter breast relay and Dylan Morawski earned new bests in the 200-meter free relay and the 100-meter fly relay. Ewan Maclean achieved a new club record in the 200-meter back swim, which qualifies him for the Canadian Junior Championship meet this July in Winnipeg.
The joy of watching Maclean achieve a new personal best amongst the top swimmers in Eastern Canada was especially gratifying for Coach Rowsell.
“The smile on his face just made all my efforts worthwhile,” Rowsell said. “He was so happy and proud of his moment.
“I’ve been his coach for several years. It’s always a triumph to achieve his time. Ewan has reached the highest level of junior competition in the country. There are future Olympic swimmers there.”
Fifteen-year old Maclean said making the cut for the national competition, “felt pretty good. I’ve always been close but wasn’t quite there. I was hoping I would get to go but it’s hard to describe, everything just kind of came together at once and it was just a great feeling.”
Maclean has mixed emotions about competing at that level.
“I feel excited but at the same time I feel nervous because it’s a pretty big stage, all of Canada,” he said. “It will be my second time going to this meet, so hopefully with a bit more experience I can do really well.”
Swimming competitively since he was 10 years old, Maclean hopes the sport will help him reach his educational aspirations.
“My main goal is to use swimming to help me get into a university,” he noted. “Hopefully swimming can help me obtain a scholarship.”
Maclean maintains travelling and competing with his team made the event even more memorable.
“It made the overall experience much more enjoyable, having people there who had your back and you had theirs,” he said. “The Gander Lakers have a really nice vibe to our team. We like to joke around, but when it’s time to race, we all know what to do.”
Rowsell pointed out that it took a lot of hard work and training for the team to qualify for the Eastern Nationals. Swimmers trained 16 hours a week in the pool, plus an additional two hours of dry land training, which includes running, jumping, push-ups, core exercises and back strengthening. The team is at the tail end of their season with one more meet coming up in June in Mount Pearl and St. John’s.
The Gander Lakers Swim Club coaches swimmers from ages eight to 18. Rowsell is excited about the talent he is seeing in the younger age groups as well.
“We’ve got some great up and comers in the 11 and 12 age group and the 10 and under,” he said. “They’ll be carrying the team into the future.”
Rowsell is hoping the team can keep their momentum up for their last meet next month.
“This has been a phenomenal year for the Lakers,” he observed. “We’ve broken most records, with the exception of a few, so we’ll setting our sights on the upcoming meet to see if we can break them to have a complete record breaking year.
“I’m super happy with the kids and their dedication to the sport and the training and they know they’ve got a great program that will help them achieve their goals.”