It was back in 1963 when the Flippers swim club made their first splash in Langley waters.
Then just a small club teaching local kids how to swim, fifty years later the Langley Flippers have much to boast about.
With 90 members in the club this year, and several alumni that have made it to the national, international and Olympic levels, their competitive programs are renowned in the Fraser Valley.
Just this past weekend, 13 gold medals were captured by Flippers and several records were broken at the 2013 regional championships, which the Flippers hosted at Al Anderson Memorial Pool.
William Karpan took gold in the Division 5 100m IM, 100m breaststroke and 50m freestyle, and also took silver in the 50m butterfly. He was awarded the Division 5 boys aggregate award for his accomplishments.
Division 8 swimmer Chelsey Salli set new meet records while winning gold in the 100m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 200m IM.
In the “O” 2 Category, Emily Halijian took gold in the 100m freestyle, 200m IM and 100m butterfly and set regional meet records in both freestyle and IM.
Meghan Hum won gold in the 50m freestyle and 50m fly, silver in 200m IM and bronze in the 100m butterfly.
The Division 8 girls medley relay team, made up of Flippers Meghan Hum, Emily Halajian, Chelsey Salli and Rachelle Salli, also shattered the previous event record by 10 seconds.
It’s the club’s belief in promoting the “personal best” in everyone that helps make their swimmers so successful, (title) said Lainie McCartney.
McCartney is a parent of a club member and also sits on the executive board.
“The swim club provides a great opportunity for kids to make friends, share the spirit of a team environment, and improve fitness,” she said.
“The club continues to strive to teach the swimmers to master the basic skills of swimming — a skill that will last a lifetime.”
Operating as a not-for-profit run by volunteers and parents, the club offers four different programs — learn to swim, little flippers, speed swimming and water polo.
During the season, which runs from May to August, swimmers ages four and up receive coaching on freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke and diving from a block.
Having kids in the program herself, McCartney has seen first hand how competitive swimming can impact their lives.
“Not everyone will win the race but it is through team spirit, commitment and the mentoring that a team environment provides that swimmers can achieve their own accomplishments, and that is a huge reward for a young swimmer,” she said.
“Whether you are four-years-old or a swimming parent, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the Langley Flippers.
“It’s a sport that the entire family can participate in. Many Flipper parents are also members and swim with the club. Physical fitness and the lifelong skill of swimming is promoted by the club and its continued success, generation after generation — it’s worth celebrating.”
For more information, visit www.langleyflippers.com.