World Championships will be all about the experience for Aurora
Master Ducks, the largest team coming out of Masters Swimming Canada at
the upcoming FINA World Masters championships in Stanford, August 3-7.
Still, the meet is not about how the swimmers will place, says head coach Nancy Black.
Instead, she tries to create an image for her swimmers where they
are diving off the starting blocks in the Avery Aquatic Centre, this
“beautiful facility. It’s such an opportunity not to miss.”
It’s the first time Ducks have traveled as such a large group to World Championships.
Ducks are sending 31 swimmers (or 30% of their entire club), coach
Black and trainer Hillary Richardson from Aurora. As well 4 swimmers
from the newly minted Gloucester Ducks, from Ottawa, will compete at
Worlds. That team is comprised of some of Aurora coach Nancy Black’s
former teammates from her age group swimming days in Ottawa.
“They haven’t swum in years,” she says. Black is shepherding the
sister or branch club in Gloucester, writing their team entries. They
are gathering as much “just to have a homecoming,” as anything, she
Black competed at the worlds in 1994 in Montreal and again in Sheffield, England in 1996 (She was pregnant then).
The team had planned to compete at Worlds in …in 2002. Yet because
of September 11, 2001, “We were afraid to travel,” but this time it
makes sense to go to Worlds, she says.
Motivation over the long swimming season has not been a problem, she says.
“Some are scared. They know they’re going. Their motivation comes from being scared.”
As well, swimmers eliminated reasons for not going: such as money,
time off work and family. If those are stopping swimmers from
competing, then “you’d better have a damn good reason why you can’t,”
Black laughs. “That does work.”
Ducks are emphasizing the trip to Worlds about going to California
where there are so many Masters swimmers, in the largest pool in the
U.S, which is also the country with the most Masters swimmers in the
world, she says.
“They’re all about the whole meet. Most of our Masters are going for the experience.”
All her swimmers are “typical” Masters swimmers. “I looked at them
all. There are so many unique people. We always are a team. We race as
Aurora Master Ducks will host other swimmers, including Team Ontario
Masters Swimming at a dinner on August 5 in Stanford. As well, Aurora
will spend an extra day touring the nearby San Francisco region.
Aurora Ducks were recently awarded their town’s civic prize in the
Best Team division for their work fund-raising and promoting fitness in
For more info on the 2005 National champions, see
For more information on the FINA Worlds, see