Barracudas swim their hearts out for Blais family
The St. Paul Barracudas Swim Club held its annual Swim-A-Thon fundraiser last Thursday afternoon, with kids between the ages of four and 15 taking to the pool to raise money for the Blais family.
“It’s a fundraising thing that all the clubs in Alberta do, and they get to choose where and what they use the funds for,” said head coach Darren Culham. “This year, we’re giving whatever money we raise to the Blais family that lost their house in the fire (on Jan. 5).”
Zoe Blais is a member of the St. Paul Barracudas, and was swimming alongside her teammates to help raise money for her family.
“(Zoe) has the never give up, never quit sort of attitude,” Culham said. “She always tries, always smiles and loves the water.”
The event, which Culham says has been running for over 50 years, sees youth swimmers from across Alberta swim for two hours and 15 minutes, logging as many laps as they can in the process.
Prior to the event, swimmers took a pledge sheet around to friends and family members, and had them pledge a set amount of money either per lap, or for the event as a whole.
“Usually we get around $3,000 to $3,500,” Culham said, adding that parents who pledge by lap can end up being very surprised by their sponsored swimmer’s results. “Sometimes the per lap catches some of the parents off guard. We’ll have little five-year-olds that will do 60 lengths in two hours.”
Culham added the Blais family was touched by the club’s decision to choose them as the recipients of the proceeds, and hopes that it will help them get back on their feet.
“I just let them know that’s what we were doing. They were humbled by it and very thankful, and surprised seeing as how we’re a non-profit club,” he said.
Fourteen of the club’s swimmers between the ages of six and 14 also traveled to the University of Alberta’s West pool in Edmonton this past weekend to take part in the Penguins Swim Meet. Culham noted that “all of the swimmers swam great, and most received new personal best times.”
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