New head coach aims for school swim teams

After holding school swim teams four years ago, Jen Bell hopes to bring them back for local kids

The Sooke Cohos are now known as the Sooke Island Swimming Club.

The Sooke Cohos are now known as the Sooke Island Swimming Club.

Jen Bell, former coach of the Sooke Cohos, now the Sooke Island Swimming club, has returned to take the position of head coach after a three year hiatus.

Bell, who has been coaching swimming since 1989, has plans to start up swim teams in local schools and to hold a swim meet for the league.

“It’s so important because we live around the water, we live next to the ocean and a lot of parents don’t put their kids in swim lessons or teach them how to swim,” Bell said of school swim teams.

“It’s not even a right it’s a must that you need to learn how to swim.”

Currently, Bell is in the early stages of getting school swim teams together.

So far, SEAPARC has agreed to allocate the time and space for school swim teams, but is still deliberating whether or not to host a swim meet — which would be open to School District 62.

A $6,500 grant from the District of Sooke will be used to purchase starting blocks and equipment necessary for an inter-school swim meet.

“All that money will be used to set up a legacy… so we can run these swim meets every year,” Bell said.

If the proposal for school swim teams pulls through, Bell hopes some kids will qualify for the elementary school championship in February.

Sooke has only participated in the large swim event once or twice.

“There is at Commonwealth, every February, district elementary school championships, so all the schools in Victoria compete in this and Sooke never does,” Bell said.

“It’s not fair these kids get an opportunity to do this and the kids out here don’t.”

Bell held school swim teams four years ago during her last stint as coach, and had 100 kids enrolled.

According to Bell, the school swim teams will run over a 10-week  period, starting in November. The kids will pay a fee, and each swim team will represent their respective school.

In comparison to the Sooke Island Swimming club, the school teams will be focused on learning basic swim strokes like front crawl, back crawl and dolphin kick rather than competitive swimming manoeuvres.

Bell said kids must be able to at least glide in the water to be eligible for the school swim teams.

In the more competitive sector, 32 swimmers with the Sooke Island Swimming club hit the pool on Sept. 9. Bell hopes to gather 50 kids in total.

As head coach, Bell does it all, from marketing to monitoring beginner swimmers to training kids for the provincial level.

“I’m excited to be back and I’m hoping that I can get more people in the community to learn how to swim,” Bell said.

To register for a free two-week trial with the Sooke Island Swimming club, or to receive a free evaluation of strokes for the school swim teams, contact Bell at jen@islandswimming.com

 

Just Posted

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Victoria police continue to look for missing man Tyrone Goertzen and are once again asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police put out another call for help finding missing man

Tyrone Goertzen, 33, was first reported missing June 4

Rachel Rivera (left) and Claire Ouchi are a dynamic art duo known as the WKNDRS. The two painted the new road mural at Uptown. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Artistic mural at Uptown brings creativity, fun to summer shoppers in Saanich

Road installation the largest of its kind in Greater Victoria

Kathy and Doug LaFortune stand next to the new welcome pole now gracing the front entrance of KELSET Elementary School in North Saanich. LaFortune completed the piece after suffering a stroke with the help of his wife and son Bear. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
KELSET school in North Saanich unveils welcome pole on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Carver Doug LaFortune completed pole with the help of his son, wife after suffering a stroke

Colwood council is looking at potential summer weekend closures to traffic of a section of Ocean Boulevard at Esquimalt Lagoon, to allow for more of a park-like setting during summer events such as the popular Eats & Beats event, shown here in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Mayor lobbying for summer weekend closures of beachfront Colwood roadway

Rob Martin to bring motion forward to June 28 council meeting

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Most Read