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Whistler Sea Wolves welcome back former head coach

Brandi Higgins rejoins team ahead of 2014/15 season

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When the Whistler Sea Wolves host their first swim meet in early November, there will be a familiar face at the helm.

Brandi Higgins, who coached the team from 1999-2009, has rejoined the club as the head coach.

Higgins originally left the club to start a family, and in the five years between coaching gigs she completed her masters degree in coaching at the University of Victoria.

"Going back (to school) it was just so much more in depth on everything from biomechanics, to sport psychology to how people learn different skills," Higgins said.

"And hopefully that's going to translate into getting better performances and helping the kids do their best."

There are more than 45 kids signed up with the club this year, and an additional 16 adults in the Masters program.

"In the kids program our youngest is seven and our oldest kid is 16, and then in the Masters they range from 25 to 70," Higgins said.

The Sea Wolves are coming off a year that saw six members compete at the provincial level.

"My goal for the team is that we get more kids to the two big provincial meets, and that we get better strokes and everybody gets faster and has fun, because they won't stick with it if they're not having fun," Higgins said.

While Higgins brings with her a decade of previous coaching experience with the team, she also has the added benefit of being married to a national 50-metre freestyle swimmer.

"My husband was a national team swimmer and his sister was a national team swimmer, and I got kind of immersed in the national team swim group," she said.

"So I've been around a lot of swimmers."

Higgins also has her husband help out at practice by showing the team how to employ proper form.

"I get him to come in and demo starts and turns," she said.

"He's quick off the blocks and he's a good turner, so that helps them see the speed."

And once they've got the technique down, it's time to focus on endurance, Higgins said. "But the thing about Whistler is that Whistler kids are so fit that it's less about getting them fit endurance-wise, as it is working on their strokes.

"I have downhill skiers and cross-country mountain bikers and hockey players... you name a sport and I at least have one or two of them doing that, as well as something else."

While the Sea Wolves will host a "pass meet" on Nov. 2 — a meet that's more about fun than it is about pressure — their first real taste of competition will come at a Nov 17 meet in Langley.

Anyone interested in registering or getting involved with the Whistler Sea Wolves can visit their website at www.whistlerseawolves.com.

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