Summit County Swim Team keeps cruising |

Summit County Swim Team keeps cruising

Cindy Bargell
Special to the Daily

For most Summit County school children, Spring’s arrival heralds the coming end of the school year and the eagerly anticipated start of summer vacation. Yet, for the members of the Summit County Swim Team, school’s end will mean the start of a “swummer” vacation, as the squad will don swimsuit and goggles and spend many of their summer hours in the pool, practicing for competition in the High Country Summer Swim League.

The team’s competitive group practices year-round at the Summit High pool, but the team is expanding the program starting in May by offering a monthly beginning-level practice group for any swimmers who want to learn competitive swimming skills and test the waters of a competitive team.

The team ended its winter season with a successful performance at a meet in Evergreen in March.

For 11-year-old Shannon Hogeman, the highlight of the meet was placing in the 11-12 girls’ age group 200-yard individual medley and earning her first ribbon. The IM event required her to swim 50 yards of each of the four competitive strokes. Hogeman’s achievement was underscored by the fact she has been on the team for a littlemore than a year and learned how to swim by blowing bubbles in the shallow end at her first practice.

Regarding her first individual-medley swim Hogerman said, “I was nervous for the butterfly but after that it was OK. I felt fast. I put my ribbon on my trophy shelf. I’m proud of it.”

Teammate Kate Wasson had a similar experience earning her first ribbon in the 9-10 girls’ age group 50-yard breaststroke.

” I saw that there was another girl close to me so I took an extra hard pull – I just out touched her and I got a best time,” Watson said. “I learned that being nervous before a race is no big deal. You just are, and you swim anyway. You have to have the right attitude.”

The Summit County Swim Team, which has provided Summit County with swimming instruction and training since 1977, practices three days per week. Head coach Brant Noonan brings 20 years of coaching experience and specific goals to the team.

“I want all of our swimmers to develop a strong core of swimming skills and fitness, so they are well prepared for Varsity swimming at Summit High School” he said.

And although swimming is well known for its development of physical fitness in children, Noonan sees this as only one of the benefits of the sport.

“Last month when the kids were taking their CSAP tests, I told them they had an advantage over their classmates because of all the extra oxygen-rich blood that goes through their heads while swimming,” he said. “Most of them thought I was joking, but I wasn’t. It’s true.”

As if to punctuate the point, four of the fifth-grade team swimmers, from three different schools, recently were recognized by the Elks Club as outstanding students.

To develop their skills, the team regularly views instructional swimming videos, including videos of their own strokes and progress. Noonan then develops swimming drills specific to the swimmers, all geared toward improving their swimming ability. In other words, the team does not simply swim laps; they spend a great deal of time learning how to swim each stroke correctly. As Noonan explains, “We are a competitive team and we look for ways to gain a competitive edge. We really do try to swim smarter. It’s a principle that bodes well for sports, school and life.”

Competitive success however is not the sole focus of the program. In fact, competition is under emphasized compared to most traditional swim teams. The team limits the amount of time its members spend at practice and at swim meets, preferring instead to have them become well rounded “mountain swimmers” growing up rich with the benefits of swimming and mountain living.

Noonan sums up the approach this way: “I would rather our kids spent their weekends on the slopes than in a swimming pool.”

Along with encouraging swimmers to be adept in the terrain park and swim pool, the Team aspires to create swimmers for life – individuals who will continue to enjoy swimming as fit and active adults.

For the kids who participate, however, it’s the chance to challenge themselves and to be part of a great team with a soaring attitude that puts the program over the top.

If you are interested in having a “Swummer Vacation” with the Summit County Swim Team, contact Noonan at (970) 389-7752 or email summitcountyswimteam

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