New relay takeoff platforms in Superior help level the playing field for all swimmers
The pool in the Superior High School has been around since 1965. Thanks to continued community support, there are upgrades being made to keep it top notch.
Recently, they added relay takeoff platforms that flash green lights when it’s time to start the race.
Cenovus Energy gave the Superior Whalers the grant to make this all possible. The general manager of the refinery, Matt Gunn, stopped by at Saturday’s home meet to push the button on the test run of the morning.
The flashing light is helpful for everyone to have a faster start. But it’s even more important for those who are hearing impaired, like Rylee Demers.
Demers is a senior with the Superior Whalers. “I started swimming competitively in the 6th grade,” she told us.
She used to have to look at a light on the side of the pool, or watch to see when her competitors started swimming. But the new platforms are a game charger.
“The first time I used one, I thought it was really easy. Because I wasn’t trying to make up time I already missed,” Rylee told us.
Her parents are very proud of her, and happy to see this opportunity available for everyone.
“The team and the atmosphere are amazing. These are some of the best people you’ll ever meet,” Don Demers told us. He’s Rylee’s dad.
Plus, it’s technology required to host a championship level meet, according to Bill Punkyo, the head coach for the Superior Spartans.
This all got started when they saw the light technology at a Junior Olympic meet in North Carolina. “For a swimmer who was always last off the blocks to become first, was amazing,” shared Whalers Head Coach Stefan Pagnucci.
So he wrote up some grants, and Cenovus came through.
It’s a good sign for future swimmers of all abilities. “I think it would show him that organizations want you to succeed, despite any challenges you may have,” shared Dave Lemaster. He has two kids on the Whalers already, and a son who uses cochlear implants who may want to swim in the future.
“It’s just awesome to see how everyone can come together to make it a better atmosphere for all,” Pagnucci added.
It was his last home meet on Saturday, as he’s retiring to follow his three kids on their sports journeys.
And by the way, Rylee got her personal record in the 100M breaststroke on Saturday. Way to go!