San Jose looks to defend swim league championship title
By Mike Bonts
The annual River City Swim League (RCSL) Championships will be held July 26-29 at the Cecil Aquatic Center on Normandy Boulevard. The league is comprised of 18 teams with approximately 2,100 swimmers ranging in ages three to 18 — including many neighborhood swimmers who have been training daily this summer.
San Jose Country Club has won the River City Championship title 20 times since the inception of the league in the 1960s. The most recent win was last season. SJCCs top swimmers include Emily and Tyler Rice, Jackson Kirk, Kara and Kurtis Gavin, Amelia Anderson, Bobby Crouch, Andrew Morgan, Will Flech, Grace Bostwich, Land Johnson, Ian Apple, Kandes and Chandler Soapes.
SJCC’s 6 and Under and 8 and Under continues to be their largest age groups, however, with some kids that age moving up, their 10 and Under team members has grown significantly.
“While it is still the beginning of the season, our team is very strong this year and the kids are swimming awesome. Our older kids group is small, but with a great amount of talent. I am expecting even faster swimming than last summer,” said coach Taylor Josserand.
Swimmers in the Riverside Avondale Ortega area also have been swimming hard this summer. The Timuquana Yacht Club River Rats practice at the Timuquana Country Club. This year’s club has a good mix of veterans and young competitors.
“We have a great group of hard working, respectful kids, as well as knowledgeable assistant coaches who are all former River Rats,” said River Rats Coach Kerry Wick. ”Sixty percent of our team is five to eight year olds, so we’re focusing primarily on technique and learning new things daily. The older swimmers are also training hard and are great mentors for our younger group,”
The league has created many levels of competitiveness with the kids. Coaches and board members try to instill the philosophy, values and leadership that you find in swimming.
The Jewish Community Alliance (JCA) Makos also bring new swimmers to the mix. The Makos have more than 20 new swimmers on the team this year. While returning 48, they have a record number of swimmers under 6 years old and the team is bettering times every meet.The Makos are coached by Lauren Egleston, Katie England and Olivia Wolfe.
“We have some very dedicated swimmers this year and their families are so excited,” said Wolfe. According to England everyone has made great improvements and we are having a wonderful summer so far. “Some of the kids who come out are year-round swimmers, but a lot of the kids just do it for fun, just for summer or [the] year,” noted Egleston.
Baymeadows Swim Team is in its 42nd season and a founding member of the River City Swim League.
Baymeadows is coached by Becky and Roger Deary
“The biggest surprise was how many young athletes wanted to join our team. We have 180 swimmers participating, many of them new to our sport. We’re very thankful that the Jacksonville Country Day School facility that we use can accommodate this large a team,” said Roger Deary.
Baymeadows top swimmers include Brian Hodang, Carl Andrews, Clare and Emily Harvey, Brandon Holton, Katelin and Tim Gildersleeve, Lindsey Monger, Maggie Bucy and Ariel Pillipow.
“We were very happy with our third place finish in last year’s Championship meet but will be hard pressed to finish that high again in 2012,” said Becky Deary
Other league teams competing in the league include Argyle Waves Swim Team, Arlingwood Swim Club, Beaches Aquatic Club, Deerwood Swim Team, Episcopal Amberjacks, Epping Forest Swim Team, Flying Fish Swim Team, Julington Creek Plantation, Oceanway, Tsunamis Swim Team, Ponte Vedra Swim Team, Rolling Hills Swim Team, Team Fernandina Stingrays, University Swim Association and Wahoos Swim Team.
The grounds around the Cecil Aquatic Center will transform into “Tent City” with each team having large tents to use as the club’s home base for the duration of the meet. It always an action-packed four days and is free and open to the public. There are concessions and meet programs available for purchase.
“Many of our athletes have gone on to compete at the college level and we believe that even those who do not continue competing after River City will take with them many skills and memories that will serve them well as they continue on into adulthood,” said RCSL Vice President Margaret Basford.
For more information on the 2012 River City Swim League Championships visit www.rcsl.org.