Allison Tucker has seen the numbers dip right across the province when it comes to competitive synchronized swimmers so she feels the time is right for restructuring.
Tucker is the president of the Corner Brook Synchronized Swim Club and a member at large on the provincial synchronized swimming organization.
The number of competitive athletes with the local club has dropped over the past few years because every year there are two or three seasoned competitive swimmers who finish up the sport after high school and nobody is coming in to fill the void.
“I think it’s the nature of the sport right across the province,” Tucker said Wednesday afternoon.
This season the club has been holding its own, with registration numbers for the competitive athlete. The good news is the club has opted to start a recreational program which now has 14 athletes trying out the sport for the first time.
Recruitment is the buzz word when it comes to trying to grow the numbers, but Tucker is faced with the challenge that it’s females who embrace synchronized swimmer and history has shown that girls tend to take on a number of sports when they are 13-14 and that usually means making a commitment to that sport so it’s hard to get them to take on a sport that usually has the competitive swimmers hitting the water for no less than eight hours per week.
“The number of hours ramps up and you can’t do all of it so they really have to make a choice,” she said.
She believes the future of the sport lies in getting younger girls involved so the start of a recreational program is a positive development at a time when clubs are struggling to maintain numbers.
With this in mind, she can only hope that some of the younger athletes in the recreational program decide they love the sport and want to pursue the competitive side to keep the numbers up in both programs.
“We’re trying to give those younger kids a place where they can come and try something different,” she said.