The Redding Aqua Ducks have been a part of the Redding community for as long as anyone can remember.
“1952 was our first year,” swim coach Mark Wagner said. “We've been here for 66 years. We're probably one of the oldest swim teams in the country.”
And one of their biggest events and revenue generators for the year is the North Valley Aquatic League Championships.
“Kids were looking forward to this,” Wagner said. “It was the end of the year. It's the culmination of everything they've done throughout the whole year. It is a chance for the seniors who are going off to college to be recognized.”
But on July 26 volunteers were setting up for the event at the Redding Aquatic Center when they received the call to evacuate because of the Carr Fire.
“We had 500 families coming to town,” Wagner said. “We were getting all ready for them and getting phone calls that the fire had jumped the river.”
Their other big event, the Whiskeytown Open Water Swim, was also cancelled, as the lake is closed.
“We're going to do it next year, but it's one of those opportunities we give adults,” he said. “The adults come out and swim, and we also have a kids portion. But it's the adults, and those adults come from all over.”
The revenue from those two events is usually enough to sustain them through the winter months.
During that time, they have to rent heated pools at Shasta College to keep their year-round swim club going.
So now, they're looking for news ways to stay afloat after the Carr Fire.
They've set up a GoFundMe page which has raised more than $1,600 of its $25,000 dollar goal.
Wagner says it’ll be tough.
They’ll have to make some cut backs.
But they've been through tough times before.
They've been here 66 years, and they'll get through this.
“We just hope that we can still provide all the things that we want to provide for the kids for the next year,” Wagner said.
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