I’m into my fourth year as head coach of Calgary’s LGBTQ (and friends) Masters swim team, Different Strokes. I do my best to create imaginative workouts that are challenging and fun for the intermediate and competitive lanes. Our dedicated and intrepid assistant head coach (and founder of the club) Dan MacGregor typically coaches and teaches the new swimmers. Sometimes we switch places, and sometimes we recruit help if we can’t be on deck: thanks to Jim Ansell, Richard Goddard and David de Vlieger for their help coaching when we can’t make it to the pool.
Different Strokes Calgary (DSC) is a non-profit, volunteer run swim club inclusive of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and their straight friends—dedicated to the Master’s swim program philosophy of “fun and fitness for life” in an environment that is both positive and supportive. To this end, DSC attempts to provide a recreational, competitive and socially active atmosphere in which members may, at their option, participate.
Interested in getting your feet wet? Newbies are always invited to try a practice out for fun—and for free. Simply show up five minutes before practice so we can get your name, chat with you about your experience level, and answer any questions you may have. Everyone is welcome.
In February and March we were fortunate to acquire pool time at Calgary’s high-performance Talisman Centre. These additional practices were quite popular and we hope to continue offering multiple weekly practices in September 2015. In the meantime, we train on Sundays at SAIT 5-6pm until the end of June – followed by Sunday morning practices at Bowview (outdoor) pool during the summer. Check the website below for updates!
Different Strokes Calgary was co-founded by Dan MacGregor and James Cooke in March 1995 at the Lindsay Park Sports Centre. Coaching staff consisted of Dan, Nancy Ingram and Rick Matthews. Thirteen swimmers showed up on the first day. Over the course of the year the club grew significantly and has been growing ever since! We typically have 20+ swimmers in the water for most practices.
DSC is a member of Swim Alberta (and of course FINA)—as well as the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA), a governing body for swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming. To date, club members have attended swim meets in different parts of North America, i.e. Washington DC, Seattle, San Francisco, and Atlanta to name a few). Europe destinations have included Paris, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. Locally we attend meets in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.
Every four years the Gay Games and/or the Outgames feature a five day swimming competition with participants from all around the world. Our past participation in these games were in Sydney, 2002, Chicago and Montréal in 2006, and Copenhagen in 2010.
The above mentioned history and mandate have been pulled from the DSC website. If you would like further information, please email the club firstname.lastname@example.org or show up on deck!
Beginning Swimmers (Typically Coached by Dan MacGregor)
Beginning swimmers are encouraged to come out and learn how to swim. Dan is top notch with many years of teaching and coaching experience. Dan is a busy accountant by trade so you may notice him vanish here and there through March and April (tax time!) but we do our best to ensure swimmers are always looked after.
Competitive Swimmers (Typically Coached by Samantha Warwick)
Samantha is NCCP Level 3 Certified with over 10 years experience coaching both competitive age-group athletes and Masters swimmers. Participants with a more competitive outlook benefit from a structured and progressive goal oriented workout programme. However, swimmers are not pushed beyond their comfort level or ability and can stop at any time when a rest is in order.
WHAT TO BRING
Swimmers must bring a swimsuit and towel, goggles and a swim cap. Investing in your own pair of training fins is highly recommended for both begninner and experienced swimmers, as we often integrate fin work into practices and most pool facilities do not have enough or the proper sizes to accommodate the majority. We recommend Team Aquatic Supplies for equipment purchases. The staff are knowledgeable, helpful and the prices are good. You can also bring your own lock for the locker room.
WHAT TO EXPECT
When you arrive on deck at the pool you will be welcomed. Choose the lane appropriate to your level of swimming. Lane 1 is for beginners and lane 6 is for advanced swimmers. Lane 2—5 are for varying degrees between beginners to advanced swimmers. At the Talisman Centre we have 4 lanes vs. 6 but the arrangement is the same.
Sadly, SAIT no longer offers a hot tub for post-practice debriefs. However the Talisman Centre does! As mentioned, after Tuesday and Thursday practices we relax in the hot tub where announcements are made.