The Houston Aquatic Club hosted B.V. Otter Brett Zollen

The Houston Aquatic Club hosted B.V. Otter Brett Zollen

Houston Aquatic Club welcomes special guest

The Houston Aquatic Club welcomed a special guest last Thursday, one who has committed to helping their members be the best they can be when they head off to swim meets.

  • Feb. 28, 2011 10:00 a.m.

The Houston Aquatic Club welcomed a special guest last Thursday, one who has committed to helping their members be the best they can be when they head off to swim meets.Brett Zollen is a 16-year-old member of the B.V. Otters, but already he’s making waves in the world of competitive swimming. A swimmer for 11 years, he’s just returned from Western Nationals that has swimmers from B.C. to Manitoba competing for best times. Overall, Zollen placed tenth. “That’s really good,” Zollen said. “I’ve got Nationals in almost everything that I race.”Above Western Nationals are Senior Nationals, which are almost at Olympic level.  It’s the qualifiers from the Senior Nationals who are offered a chance to tryout for the Olympic level. In the fifty free front crawl, Zollen has completed it in 24 seconds. Senior National time is 23 seconds. But those milliseconds are priceless, Zollen said. From the top five to his tenth place finish, they were all within two tenths of a second, he said, which is why every movement is critical.”It is a pressure cooker,” Zollen said. “If you screw up one thing in a fifty, you’re done. When it gets up into those national level meets, the competition is so high because everyone is so close together.”But his love for swimming is evenly matched by his desire to help others achieve the best they can, which is why coaching is a perfect fit for him. When he and the Otters and the Houston Aquatic Club were both in Terrace, he approached the head coach John Andersson about the possibility of his being able to help out, an opportunity Andersson was pleased, and excited, to note and accept.”He helped us do some stuff in Terrace when we were there because we’re a fairly junior club with a coach that hasn’t been doing it very long, so he came over and gave us some great ideas right off the bat, just for warmups and stuff like that,” Andersson said, who later spoke with him to set up something more permanent.Zollen’s volunteering to help the Houston Aquatic Club is one step towards the future career he sees himself in, as well as provides him the satisfaction of seeing these kids improve.”When I am swimming and I see someone else that I swim with and they’re not doing something right, or they can do it better, I always try to help them,” Zollen said. “My coaches have even told me you’d make a perfect coach.”Zollen was honoured to offer some help to head coach teach the kids stroke development.  It’s not just about perfecting the four basic strokes, however.”It’s so they can go to meets, get best times, get confidence in themselves and try to achieve great things in swimming,” Zollen said. With seven members, placing in meets is a struggle, Andersson said, as meets are based on points that accrue with each competitor in a swim club.  So, with others having more members, coming out on top is difficult, he said, but with individual scores Houston’s swimmers have been doing extremely well.”At the last swim meet in Terrace, all our swimmers beat their personal bests,” Andersson said. “And we’re looking to do the same in our upcoming meet in Smithers.”And the club is always looking for new swimmers to tryout for the Houston Aquatic Club, Board Member Brandy Andersson said. They meet three days per week to practice, and their schedule runs the same as the school season. The youngest member is six and the oldest is 11, and it’s been quite instructional to the kids, she said, teaching them not only stroke development but good sportsmanship as well.Those interested can talk to employees at the Houston Leisure Facility, where membership forms can also be found.