Muskie swimmers making strides in pool

With a possible settlement between the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board and its high school teachers, organizers of the Muskie swim team are now looking seriously at competing against schools up there.
“Right now, teachers in the Keewatin-Patricia area have a tentative agreement for a contract, which would allow them to volunteer for extra-curricular activities, so we will be looking to have contact with them regarding [arranging] meets,” said Mary Jane Gushulak, a Fort High teacher rep for the swim team.
Gushulak said the Muskies, in their inaugural season as a swim team, would like to arrange competitions against traditional NorWOSSA schools like Dryden, Kenora, Red Lake, and Atikokan.
Although they do not have high school swim teams, they do have competitive clubs which would allow them the chance to compete in inter-school meets.
Some 16 swimmers are involved in the Muskie program, all of various skills and experience, and Gushulak said they are excited about the prospects of this year’s team.
“We are very, very pleased so far,” she said. “We have more swimmers than we expected.
“What we wanted to do was have the community aware of our swim program and let the kids represent their school and give them some exposure,” she added.
“We have some veteran kids out there who our part of our Aquanaut swim club who are also representing the high school, and we have a bundle of new kids,” noted Debbie Murray, head coach of both the Muskies and Aquanauts.
Murray said she’s also excited about the prospects of this season.
“The swimmers are looking good but it will be a wait-and-see thing to see if the kids can reach those all-Ontario times,” she remarked. “But we do have some swimmers . . . that have the potential.”
Part of the reason behind the launch of the Muskie swim team was to allow high school-aged swimmers the chance to possibly compete at an all-Ontario championship.
But because the Muskies are in just their first season, Gushulak admitted it remains to be seen if their swimmers would be helped out financially if they recorded qualifying times.
“It depends on how many of our kids qualify,” she said, adding the club already has started its fundraising efforts through working Bingos. “Right now, it remains to be seen.”