The Estevan Mermaids Synchronized Swimming Team travelled to Saskatoon last weekend. On Saturday, the team attended an athlete development camp where they gained instruction from two athletes who are currently on the Canadian National team, Erin Willson and Karine Thomas.
Wilson and Thomas train out of the Montreal Athlete Excellence Centre, and are fresh off a Bronze placing at the 2010 FINA World Championships in China. They are also hopefuls to make the Canadian Olympic team for 2012 and provided a high level of instruction to the local athletes.
On Saturday evening, Synchro Saskatchewan held its annual awards and recognition banquet for the past season. Three Mermaids received recognition for their efforts and contributions to the sport.
Peyton Holt received the trophy for the Most Improved Recreational Athlete in the province. She was in her first year of recreational training with the Mermaids last season, and was rewarded for her incredible improvements, efforts, and team leadership.
The Tier 1-5 Athlete of the Year award goes to a deserving athlete in that category that is committed to the sport of synchronized swimming. Kelsey Potoma brought that trophy home, as she made considerable strides in her synchronized swimming abilities in the past season.
"Kelsey worked hard last year and gave to all of her abilities in each practice. She became a strong team member last year, and I am pleased that her efforts were rewarded on a provincial level," said coach, Brenda Lyons.
The final Estevan resident to be recognized at the banquet was for efforts outside of the water. Craig Palmer, this year's Estevan Mermaid club president, was awarded the Volunteer Special Merit Award for his contributions to the sport. Palmer is active at both the local and provincial level, as he has served as the provincial computer keeper for the past two years.
"We can not run our meets without volunteers like Craig", said Lyons. "We are really proud of the contributions that Craig has made to our sport."
Sunday saw competitive action in the pool at the Shaw Centre in Saskatoon. This was the first meet of the SynchroSask competitive year, and saw the Mermaids compete on an individual level.
In the 13-15 age category, the Mermaids saw three athletes finish in the top 13 out of a pool of 35. Mackenzie Dahl led the way in that age group with a 10th place finish, followed by Dezirae Franke in 12th and Tess Rensby in 13th.
New this year was the introduction of the Novice category, which allows athletes just entering the sport to have their own entry category.
"We have a very strong athlete entering our team this year, said Lyons. "Tracy Irwin took first place in this category with a very convincing score."
With this meet under their belts, the Mermaids now turn their focus on developing routines and perfecting their individual figures. The next meet will happen in Regina at the end of January.