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By TIFFANY JEHOREK
Special to the Herald Times
MEEKER | Swimming, as a competitive sport, goes well beyond teaching a life skill and preventing drowning; there are many invaluable lessons learned. The Meeker Marlins, a team of seven, traveled to Delta for an evening meet on Tuesday, June 12, and walked away with 20 firsts out of 34 swims. That’s dedication. They have been swimming since April and will wrap up the season Aug. 5. The team headed to Craig June 16-17; they “showed up to win” said Coach Shelly Rogers.
“Tucker Chinn, 9, swam away as the high point champion for boys 9-10 year division.” Tucker earned three firsts in Delta, five first place ribbons in Craig and two seconds. Swimming his fastest times in Craig in the 50 backstroke, 50 butterfly, 100 individual medley, and 200 individual medley.
Dexter Chinn, 8, the youngest swimmer on the team, swam his fastest times yet this season, first at the Delta meet in every race, then again in Craig in three separate races. “Craig is the only meter pool they swim in, it is longer, tougher to get best times,” said Rogers, “We will be in yard pools for the remainder of the season.” Dexter’s dedication to the sport paid off and he earned five out of five first place honors in Delta, four first in Craig and three seconds.
Swimming in the USA Swimming league means there are rules to follow for stroke and technique. Swimmers become detail oriented: worried about breathing, finish to the wall, stroke recovery, and number of strokes to the flip turn. The bits and pieces are broken up in practice, but the big picture comes into view when they swim the individual medley, where each stroke is used all in one race. A race consisting of the breaststroke and the butterfly, which are considered the two hardest swimming strokes to master, requires the swimmer to be mentally prepared and butterfly requires the swimmer to be aerobically fit. Joe Mckay, 13, swam half of his races in Delta and Craig in these strokes, earning best times in Craig in the 200 breastroke, placing first, and 100 butterfly, placing second. McKay swam 18 races in seven days earning points in each one.
Swimming is a sport like all others, you need to be good a lot, instead of chasing perfection, as you will not win every race, it is important as a swimmer to chase self improvement. Rogers said that the team “continues to improve each week,” and she is “amazed at the times they are posting.”
Kate Lockwood,13, is one of the three girls on the team and one who aged up to a new division this year. “It’s tough aging up into a new division,” said Rogers, “she has worked harder then ever in practice this year and has posted best times in all her events this year, compared to last year. Katie specializes in the 100 and 200 breastroke.”
Addie Knowles, 10, swam four races in Delta and Sunday in Craig. She won the 100 breastroke in Delta with a time of 1 minute 48.88 seconds and posted her best times in three races in Craig; the 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and 50 breaststroke.
Her sister Hailey Knowles, 14, the senior member of the team, swam most of her races in Delta as the only girl in the heat. From Delta she took home first in the 100 freestyle, breaststroke, and butterfly and the 200 individual medley. Summer girls’ basketball was also in session in Meeker and just before the Craig meet on Saturday Hailey played 14, 20-minute basketball games, but showed up ready to swim Sunday, support the others and build them up.
Swim races might be six lanes full of a swimmer’s peers, but it is still an individual sport, each participant striving to best their time. Improvements require patience and goal setting.
Judd Harvey set a goal in 2017 that he would swim the mile competitively this year, and be the first on his team to do so. In Delta, Harvey swam five races, earning four firsts, then four days later showed up to the Craig meet swam the 1,500 freestyle (mile) in 28 minutes, 21.16 seconds, earned best times in the 1,500 freestyle swimming in third place, 50 backstroke placing first, and 100 backstroke placing first. There was an additional first place in the 200 freestyle and Harvey wrapped up the week swimming 2,591 yards in the two meets.
The Marlins travel to Delta again Saturday, June 23, but have Sunday plus the next weekend off to rest and recoup. “We will hit the pool hard in practices,” Rogers said, adding, “We are on to Montrose, which is a ‘fast’ pool and I can’t wait to see their results!”