TRURO - At the sound of the whistle, water started flying everywhere on Saturday during the inaugural Splash and Dash at Victoria Park Pool.
"It was a lot of fun," said Madeline Stewart, 8, who participated in the seven and eight-year-old category.
"When I was swimming I struggled a lot. I kept looking back because I was scared (who was behind me)," said the Hilden girl.
Forty participants registered for the event, which was open for all ages and included both a swimming and running component.
"It's a lot of work to do this event but kids should really do it. It gets you going and it makes you want to do it," said Madeline after she crossed the finish line in first place for her heat.
"I'm happy with how I did, but I can't feel my legs."
With her father by her side, Madeline kept moving in the hopes the pain would go away.
Her two twin brothers competed in the age five and six category, while her best friend competed in the age group after hers.
"I was a little disappointed at first that I wouldn't be with my best friend, but then I found out she had to do four laps of swimming and four laps of running," she said.
Giving her daughter a huge hug at the finish line, Valerie Fitzgerald couldn't have been happier with the event.
"I want just being active to be a habit for her," Fitzgerald said about her six-year-old daughter Annabel. "I'm interested in having these types of events promoted in the community."
Working at Centennial Pool, Fitzgerald said she put up posters for the event when she learned it was being held.
"I think there are a lot of swimmers here from both pools. I think it's a great thing to have, especially with recent news coming out about the obesity rates in Colchester County being one of the highest. By having these events, children can learn the value of being active."
After crossing the finish line, Annabel still had her goggles on top of her head, but kept smiling.
"It was really good," she said. "Swimming was my favourite part. I've been swimming for almost four years."
She said she didn't want to participate in the event at first because she was nervous, but her mother encouraged her to do so.
When asked if she'd compete again, she smiled and answered ‘yes.'
Standing on the pool deck, Truro's Rob Carreau said he had four kids participating in the event, ages six, seven, nine and 13.
"I think it's great to have," he said. "(My wife and I) do triathlons ourselves, but it's normally just us, so to have them participate is a real treat."
Carreau said his children loved the idea of the event from the moment they heard of it, and he himself was going to compete in the 19+ category.
"I wanted to participate to support the event and have some fun. I wanted to be here to help make it a big event."
With registration of 40 participants, organizer Troy Bond was happy with the turnout, especially since they didn't do much advertising.
"We didn't advertise on purpose," he said while walking along the race trail. "We wanted to make our first one a small event, so we could make it safe and encourage participation while introducing a multi-sport event."