The Vic-ETB Swimming Club has started the season reaching historical milestones, although the objectives of the section, with almost 150 athletes, go beyond sport and focus on reinforcing values such as effort, sacrifice, habits healthy or teamwork.
A little over a year ago, Tomàs Domínguez , swimming coach of the children’s, junior and absolute teams of Club Natació Vic-ETB, left us suddenly . We still remember him. The boys and girls of the Vic-ETB swimming teams still think of him as they swim one pool after another.
When you enter the training pool, there is a hanging white cork that certifies it, written and signed by many of those who were his pupils : “Tomàs, we love you”. Tomàs dedicated the last 12 years of his working life to the club, he was a person who was “attractive because of his way of doing things, with character, he helped everyone”, explains Jaume Fontdevila , head of the club’s swimming section .
Tomàs left a great legacy , which he built together with many other people in the club, with coaches, swimmers, families… and which has spread over time. Not surprisingly, nowadays Vic has one of the great Catalan swimming clubs.
At the moment, the CN Vic-ETB has a team of almost 150 swimmers aged between 5 and 25, in the various categories: school, aged 5 to 7; pre-Benjamin, from 7 to 9; Benjamin, from 9 to 11; fry, from 11 to 13; children, from 13 to 15; junior, 15 to 18; and absolutely, over the age of 18.
A family with sacrifice
It’s also not too strange that they enjoy it like a family. Many swimmers may spend more hours in the pool than with their parents and siblings. Swimming is rewarding but also hard. The boys and girls train every afternoon, from Monday to Friday, between an hour and a quarter to two hours, depending on the categories. Starting with the juvenile teams, they also train for an hour or an hour and a half in the mornings, before going to high school or school, and physical training is done in the gym. “Each session we swim between 4,000 and 4,500 meters ,” assures Roger Vilamala , from Tona and a junior in his last year.
“It’s a very big sacrifice, you have to put a lot of effort into it ,” explains a shy 13-year-old Txell Casas , who lives in Santa Maria d’Oló, in Moianès, and has been training at the club for three seasons. Every day her parents accompany her, wait for her at training and take her home. A total of 46 kilometers in each session. Parents also have their privileged and reserved corner in this great Vic-ETB family.
Start of the season at cruising speed
In addition, male and female swimmers combine training with one of the most attractive parts of this sport, the competition . During the year, the club competes in the Catalan Championships , the Catalan team leagues and some minor trophies. Also the Spanish Championship when the minimums are reached – this year, 15 male and female swimmers.
This year’s season started in September and some historical records are being set . Last October 29, CN Vic-ETB reached second position in the second division of the Catalan Cup , gaining promotion to the top category. Next year it will be among the eight best swimming clubs in Catalonia . It is the second time in the history of the entity that such an important milestone has been achieved.
Goals beyond medals
“But the goals we set for ourselves are not about getting so many medals or so many finals,” clarifies Jaume. “We compete to improve as much as possible. Swimming training means construction and improvement based on the formation of values such as discipline, sacrifice, effort, companionship or healthy habits,” he adds.
“Training at 6 in the morning is hard. You need sacrifice, discipline, order, individual responsibility”, points out Isidre in the same vein. “And this affects your life and your values beyond the pool. You have to plan schedules that are not usual, studies, training,” he continues. “And in the end, what you have left, after years and years in the pool, are the friends, the locker room, the experiences, the championships,” he concludes.
The team in an individual sport
Swimming is a sport of individual improvement , as Roger defends: “You have to improve yourself, you have to trust yourself.” Despite this element, however, there is also an important team component.
“In training it is key to have a good group. And in the leagues you are scored by teams” , argues Isidre. “Everyone trains to improve their version. However, when someone achieves an important milestone, the rest of the team is happy,” says Jaume.
Roger corroborates this: “It’s a very nice sport, it teaches you a lot in life. I like to compete, but I also like my colleagues, who are friends, I spend 16 to 20 hours a week with them.” Samuel also confirms that he has a good relationship with the rest of his teammates, even outside of training.
We are not asking him what he, who has made a spectacular evolution, would say to a swimmer of six, seven or eight years old, who has just started. Samuel, even though he is only 14 years old, leaves us with a reflection that many adults would do well to take note of: “You don’t have to pressure children, you have to let them enjoy themselves. And if they like it, let them continue” .