Travis Paterson/News staff Pacific Coast Swimming club members Lauren Crisp (Mount Douglas) and Molly Gowans (Claremont) compete this weekend as hosts of the 12th annual Christmas Cracker swim meet at Saanich Commonwealth Place. Crisp is a provincial record holder for the 200-metre backstroke and Gowans is the No. 1-ranked among 16-and-under swimmers in the province in the 200

Saanich swim meet a ‘cracker’ for economy

The annual Christmas Cracker at Saanich Commonwealth Place is expected to draw 700-plus swimmers to the District this weekend.

The annual Christmas Cracker at Saanich Commonwealth Place, one of the biggest swim meets in Canada, is expected to draw 700-plus swimmers to the District this weekend.

Hosted by Pacific Coast Swimming, the event serves as an economic boost as hundreds more friends and family from across the Pacific Northwest arrive for the fun, said PCS director of athletic development Rod Barratt.

“It is very competitive at the top end – you’re going to see some elite times,” Barratt said. “The Christmas Cracker usually produces a few of Canada’s top-10 finishes from the year – but it’s also unique because clubs bring the whole team.”

With no minimum time standard, the Cracker creates a carnival atmosphere. Swimmers of all levels gather at Commonwealth Place, which is set up with three 25-metre pools going at once, a rare competition configuration. And of course, every swimmer receives a Christmas cracker, handmade by the 100-plus local volunteers helping with the event.

“So many competitions in sports are so serious, it’s part of why we started this 12 years ago, to bring a fun aspect,” Barratt said.

It’s the funnest meet of the season for 14-year-old PCS swimmer Lauren Crisp, who has competed in it since she was seven. She’ll be in the company of 300 or so PCS teammates.

“When we travel to meets it’s usually between 10 and 25 of us, and I think this weekend is half of all the PCS members,” she said. “Besides, Santa comes, where else does that happen?”

Don’t get Crisp wrong. Like many swimmers this weekend the Grade 10 Mount Doug student will be chasing down a personal best, or close to it, as the U14 provincial record holder will compete in a series of events including her specialty, the 200-meter backstroke.

Crisp is longlisted to accompany Team Canada to Australia in the new year and her times this weekend will affect the selection process.

“This is it, I’m here everyday, eight times a week, and you have to have a lot of friends here or I don’t think I’d be able to do what I do, yoga, strength training, mental training, and nutrition, all for swimming,” Crisp said.

Every swimmer receives a Christmas cracker, hand made by the 100-plus volunteers who help organize the weekend. There’s also some swanky prizes, such as iPads and other technology goodies.

Each year the Christmas Cracker fills neigbhouring Royal Oak restaurants and hotels, such as the Howard Johnson hotel on Elk Lake Drive, which is down to a handful of rooms this weekend.

Follow the Christmas Cracker results live at pacificcoastswimming.com/LiveResults/2014-15/2014-pcs-xmas-cracker/.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Capital Regional District moves pipeline to save up to 50 trees

Move comes after short but intense lobbying efforts from Grange Road residents

10 bags of donated Christmas toys stolen from Salvation Army

Victoria location reported theft to VicPD on Dec. 11

Former Peninsula hockey coach hit by car in Beijing

Both legs broken, friends set up GoFundMe to bring him home for Christmas

Victoria Police, BC Transit educate drivers on bus lanes

Cops pull over commuters using Douglas Street bus lanes

More storms brewing for Greater Victoria

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

VIDEO: Ballet Victoria’s take on the The Nutcracker tours Vancouver Island and the Mainland

Performances in Revelstoke, Coquitlam, Chilliwack and Victoria

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Friday morning

Police respond to alleged bear-spray threats in Vancouver Island park

A number of Comox dog owners have reported their off-leash dogs being threatened with bear spray

B.C. man linked to human remains probe gets absolute discharge on unrelated mischief count

Curtis Sagmoen was in Vernon Law Courts Dec. 13 for a mischief trial

Tilray names several former politicians to international advisory board

Many former politicians and political operatives have made a foray into the legal pot industry

Supreme Court upholds Canada’s right to reargue facts in assisted-dying case

Julia Lamb and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association are spearheading a challenge of the law

B.C. company facing several charges in 2017 chicken abuse case

CFIA investigation leads to 38 charges against Elite Farm Services and Ontario-based Sofina Foods

Woman forcibly confined, sexually assaulted between Creston and Cranbrook

The suspect forced the woman into her vehicle before driving along Highway 3

Most Read