Back from the first meet of the season in Whitehorse, Mackenzie Muskrat swimmers are preparing hard for territorials in February.

Tessa Jenks, front, with Brooke Dalton behind prepare to dive during a Mackenzie Muskrats Swim Club practice.
Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

“It went well,” said coach Vince Brown about the Whitehorse meet, which was structured around best times only and had no awards for placing.

“It was more of a preparatory meet. Now we’re in the middle of doing a lot of basic training and getting a lot of the distance and miles in.”

Swimmers were working on their butterfly stroke at practice Sunday, Nov. 12.

Marshall Brown said he shaved about 30 seconds off his times at the Whitehorse meet. He also represented Inuvik at the North American Indigenous Games last summer.

“Lots of our swimmers got a bunch of best times,” he said. “Couple of us came in first in our races.”

He’s trying to focus on his breast stroke now, which he thinks is his weakest.

An upcoming home mock meet in December will help prepare swimmers for the atmosphere of the more serious events.

“I think the hardest skill is mental, getting them to have confidence in how they’ve prepared, overcoming nervousness and focusing on the smaller points of a race,” said coach Brown.

Much of the training early in the season is based on improving times and endurance.

“Conditioning is heavier at the beginning of the season through to the mid-season,” said Brown.

“Technique is heavy (in mid-season onward) and then we slowly slide to preparation for meets and speed and the techniques involved in starts and turns.”

Towards the end of the season, swimmers fine-tune their skills for the last meets.

Brown said training for the more experienced swimmers and younger ones is similar, both focusing on beating benchmarks and improving times.

“It’s based on personal best (times) and improving their technique, their speed and their times,” said Brown.

Following territorials in February, the Muskrats will compete in three more meets: one invitational at home, another in Whitehorse and the last one in Yellowknife in May.

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