A local contingent of teenage swimmers will be part of Team Southeast at the upcoming Saskatchewan Winter Games in Regina, which begin this Sunday Feb. 19.

Sierra Mantei, Sasha Mantei, Isabelle Pyra, Ava Allen, and Rowyn Schier, all members of the Estevan Mermaids, will compete for their region in the artistic swimming competition. 

"Pretty excited. This will be a first time thing for me," said Sierra Mantei, who has been swimming for eight years. "I feel like it's going to be really intense."

Sierra's sister Sasha said the competition has been a long time coming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Last year it was cancelled, and I was on the team last year, but it's exciting to actually go this year," said Sasha Mantei. "Hoping for a good score and hoping for a good placing between the solos, duets, and team (categories)."

The games will also be a first time experience for Isabelle Pyra, another Mermaids swimmer.

"It's once in a four year experience for me and this will be my first time, so pretty excited but really nervous too," said Pyra, 11. "It's very exciting and special to me."

Fellow swimmer Ava Allen talked about what it means to be a part of Team Southeast.

"It's like a big community, so it's kind of nice having like a big family," she said. "Not only are your swim buddies cheering you on, but other people from other sports are cheering you on."

She also touched on the qualities that make a good artistic swimmer.

"Definitely being creative and just having fun with it," Allen said. "Personally I'm very competitive but just having love for the sport is fun. And definitely as a swimmer it's not about being in peak condition and being the best...it's about having fun."

Last word to Rowyn Shier, who will also be competing in Regina.

"I'm pretty excited...I've never really been a part of a team like that, it's usually just the Estevan team," Shier said.

There are multiple different categories in artistic swimming, including solo, duet, combo, trio, and team. All of the categories are judged.

The swimming at the Sask Games will begin on Monday Feb. 20.