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The Seward Tsunami Swim Club (STSC) will hold its annual Gingerbread Dunk and Candy Cane Splash meets this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3-4. This year marks the first meet at which the club will host visiting teams since COVID precautions necessitated the cancellation of last year’s event. The traditionally one-day meet has been expanded to two days this year due to increased STSC membership.

“We’re actually running two meets because the Tsunami Swim Club has never been so big,” said STSC President Leslie Jacoby. “We have 82 members this year. Last year we didn’t accept any new swimmers because of COVID. We just tried to take care of our returning swimmers, and I think we did a great job, but it was all we could manage. This year we have new swimmers, and so we have 40 dolphins, and 82 total swimmers that are working in the pool with our coaches.”

The proceedings will begin at the Seward High swimming pool on Friday afternoon at 3:15 p.m. with the Gingerbread Dunk for all dolphin-level swimmers. The Candy Cane Splash will follow on Saturday at 10:15 a.m. for all bronze-level swimmers and above.

“Because we have 80, we decided to do two meets in a row,” Jacoby said. “On Friday we’re doing the Gingerbread Dunk for our dolphin swimmers, and on Saturday we’re doing the Candy Cane Splash for our bronze, silver and gold swimmers, and our out-of-town swimmers. We’re expecting swimmers from Homer, Kenai and Soldotna.”

Though able to make a return, this year’s events will still adhere to COVID precautions, with attendance limited to participants and coaches. However, plans are underway to allow spectators to stream the events live.

“In order to keep the numbers down and to keep people healthy, that’s why we’re doing this closed, no spectators,” Jacoby said, “and it’s not the way we want to do it. We want to get back to spectators, but because the Seward pool really doesn’t have a bleacher area, our spectators are usually on deck, and so our decks get pretty crowded, quite honestly, at a typical meet, so we just felt that we’re still not quite ready for a crowded deck, but maybe next go-around.”

Further streaming information will be made available at teamunify.com/Home.jsp?team=akstsc. In the meantime Jacoby added that the STSC is currently running its annual banner fundraiser.

“We are raising critical funds for our scholarship program, equipment for the pool, coaches, and pool time,” she said. 

Businesses interested in donating may contact sewardtsunamis@gmail.com for further information.