PHAST up and swimming again

Linnea Mack, an 18-time All American, an eight time UCLA record holder, and a NCAA finalist helped out the Port Hawkesbury Antigonish Swim Team last week and has plans to visit the local club this week as well.

PORT HAWKESBURY: Now that the province and the country are reopening, the Port Hawkesbury Antigonish Swim Team (PHAST) is trying to get back to normal.

Although they did operate “on a limited basis” without competition during the global pandemic, this year, Iaian Langley said they have resumed their normal training schedule.

To help with training, the PHAST club received some help from decorated swimmer Linnea Mack who visited the club Oct. 14 and 15, as well as this week.

“We happened to have the good fortune of receiving a call from a lady in Mull River, who would be a U.S. citizen and a relative of the recently passed Jim St. Clair,” Langley said. “This young lady is on the U.S. National Team and she just finished training in Bucharest, Hungary. And after a COVID clearance and all that good stuff, she’s now in Mull River and she’s going to train with us for the next two weeks, and give a bit of coaching and mentoring, and instruction in nutrition, and yoga, and mental preparation for our swimmers.”

Mack is a former UCLA Bruin, and 18-time All American, and eight time UCLA record holder, and a NCAA finalist. She was a member of the Los Angeles Current in the International Swim League’s inaugural year, helping to secure the team’s title at the U.S. Derby.

Mack is a former USA National Team member and was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame as a high school senior in 2013.

A certified yoga instructor, Mack has an extensive background in educating elementary students about nutrition and sustainable living. Her interests outside of the water include surfing, cycling, and gardening.

“Just to have a little bit of insight of where the sport can take you. To be able to learn that from an international athlete is great for our club,” Langley said. “For our existing members, it’s wonderful for them to spend time with her, and for those who may have forgotten about the club, after we get to know more about this person beyond her bio, it would be nice to share that with potential new swimmers.”

Because COVID-19 cancelled all competitions, PHAST had “blackout” periods when they couldn’t hit the water. Last September, he said PHAST resumed “on a very limited basis,” in adherence with public health restrictions, but when the numbers of new cases rose, they were forced to shut down again.

“We’re coming out of the ashes right now, and what our future is, who knows,” Langley said. “We’re in a rebirth stage but there’s potential opportunity from that.”

Langley added PHAST is planning to host a competition in Port Hawkesbury in April, 2022.

“We expect to be going to compete before the New Year to meets throughout the province,” he added.