Dorval Swim Club looking for members
Dragon Photo, Evelyn Sotosek, Coach Annie Bouthillier (right) gives instructions to Dorval Swim Club members recently.
BY ELYSE AMEND
Over at the Dorval Swim Club (DSC) the motto is “small is beautiful.” The club, which practices at the Jean XXIII High School pool, has been around for about 30 years and prides itself on the individual attention the coaches give their swimmers and the successes they have achieved. “It’s a smaller club and it’s so much more than a swim club. It’s not all about competition. It’s about personalizing it for each swimmer,” said DSC President Dora d’Angelo. “We make sure each swimmer is treated differently. It’s about catering to each swimmer.”
The DSC offers swimming lessons for kids between four and 12 years old who want to develop their skills, and also trains competitive swimmers from the bout-de-chou level (six to 11 years old) all the way up to masters. Throughout its history, the club has produced high caliber swimmers who have gone on to Olympic trials and even swept a regional swim meet two weeks ago. “Every swimmer placed in the top three in their category. We do very well, even though we don’t have as many swimmers as other clubs,” d’Angelo said. “A lot of the kids that joined this year and started off with nothing have actually managed to already achieve their standard and were able to place in the top three in every single event they competed in.”
While keeping membership low is one of the DSC’s secrets to success, they are currently looking for more swimmers. One year ago, word got around the Jean XXIII pool would be closed because it needed extensive repairs. Although the Marguerite-Bourgeois school board brought the 40-year-old pool up to par, many swimmers left the club to look for something else. “There were a lot of rumours the club would not be around this year,” d’Angelo said. “We’re looking for more swimmers. Right now, we’re at about one third of our total capacity, with only about 40 competitive swimmers.”
Even with more members, d’Angelo said the club will still be able to offer their swimmers the personalized treatment they are so proud of. And this is mainly because of one thing: “We have wonderful coaches,” she said. “We have the chance to get to know our swimmers more; not just as a swimmer, but a person as well,” said Annie Bouthillier, a DSC coach, adding they often get to know the swimmers’ parents and relatives, too. “They’ll get you Christmas gifts and invite you to different things. It’s really a close family feeling.”
D’Angelo said she hopes new members will help the DSC continue to thrive. On top of that, the prospect of a new indoor swim facility in Dorval is keeping club members excited about the future, as the only indoor pool currently in the city is the one at Jean XXIII.
According to Jean-Charles Gagnon, administrative and aquatic services division chief at Dorval’s leisure and culture department, while it is too early to speak in detail about a new facility, there is something in the works. “They are looking at the feasibility of upgrading one pool,” he said. “It’s too early to talk about the project, but what could be said is we are concerned about the lifespan of the pool at Jean XXIII.”
For now, d’Angelo said the DSC is concentrating on finding new members. “We’re there and we’re strong,” she said. “We just have to let people know we’re still alive.”