Hearing the roar of the crowd and seeing swimmers from all across B.C.’s Interior take to the pool on Saturday (Feb. 26) in Penticton felt like a return to normal for KISU Swim Club head coach Tina Hoeben.
A total of 16 swim teams from the region started competing in the province’s divisional championships at the Penticton Community Centre Pool on Friday (Feb. 25).
It wasn’t just special for Hoeben to see a significant swim event back in action after the COVID-19 pandemic regularly disrupted plans, however — it was a day to feel proud that Penticton was hosting such an event.
“Everybody is coming out of COVID together right now, so to have this level of championship bringing everybody together is amazing,” she said.
“I’m super proud that we’re hosting this and there’s definitely a lot of pride in having people come to our community.”
Swim teams from Kelowna, Vernon, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Kamloops and the Kootenays joined in on the festivities that are scheduled to end on Sunday (Feb. 27).
Penticton is one of three B.C. cities to host Swim BC’s divisional championships this weekend. Vancouver and Nanaimo are home to swimmers from Fraser and Island as well as coastal regions of the province.
Hoeben has coached KISU swimmers in the Okanagan for 23 years.
Still, attending events like the divisionals never gets old.
“There’s excitement but there’s also nervousness,” she said.
“Making sure we are prepared and that all of my swimmers are supported and that they’ll be at their best.”
The club’s head coach added that a pair of KISU swimmers finished in first and second place, respectively, during the day’s first race.
Swimmers with the best times during the divisional championships will be invited to participate in the provincials at a later date.
The KISU Swim Club is no stranger to hosting province-wide events.
In the fall of 2019, the Penticton-based club welcomed hundreds of competitive swimmers from across B.C.
Penticton’s community pool is closed this weekend for public swims as a result of the divisional championships.