When the Moose Jaw Kinsmen Flying Fins get in race-hosting season again, they'll have some new blocks on hand.

The ten blocks were bought by the city, with the help of some fundraising by the Fins.

“The starting blocks were originally from when we first built the pool, and they were in time to be replaced,” City of Moose Jaw recreation services manager, Scott Osmachenko. “We were working with the Flying Fins and they wanted to do a better upgrade. For the past three years, the Flying Fins have been raising funds for their contribution and we finally made this happen this year with our equipment reserve. It’s time for new swim blocks. So the Flying Fins stepped up and raised some money.”

The former swimming starting blocks were 25 years old and the Fins fundraising contributed $9,000 of the $48,000 total cost. Flying Fins head coach Gord Shields is happy to get the new blocks at the pool for their meet season, as the old blocks were about 25 years old.

“These new blocks are absolutely fantastic,” Shields said. “They’re… the latest technology. They have what’s called a relay takeover, which even clubs with new blocks don’t have that. It’s great for swimming in Moose Jaw and it’s great for swimming in Saskatchewan because we host provincial championships. It’s going to be really awesome to have the updated timing system that we updated recently with help from the Kinsmen and the city, and now the starting blocks.”

The old ones were crooked and would wobble when swimmers pushed off, Shields said.

“These are totally solid, and they have … a wedge at the back, which allows them to put their back foot on this wedge, and they get a lot stronger push-off. So it does affect that start by tenths of seconds, which is huge when you get to national-level swimming.”

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