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Summit Sharks get set for summer season

ADAM BOFFEY
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox
ALL |

FARMER’S KORNER ” As spring sports at local schools wind down for the season, the Summit County swim team is gearing up for its summer schedule.

The year-round program is open to children ages 6-18, even those who have multiple athletic interests.

“People can flip flop,” third-year coach Amy Murphy explained during Wednesday’s practice. “A lot of parents are nervous about telling me, ‘We’re gonna go play soccer,’ but I tell them, ‘Great, go play soccer. When you’re done, come back.'”

Murphy, whose team is generally comprised of about 20 swimmers, isn’t interested in monopolizing the time of her athletes, especially while they’re young.

“I try to keep an open mind to that, especially in this county,” she said. “We have a lot of active kids and it takes a lot to choose just one sport.”

Inexperienced swimmers are also welcome.

“For kids who haven’t chosen a sport yet, the learning curve is pretty quick,” Murphy said. “It’s really mostly about building an aerobic base.”

The SCST’s current largest group of swimmers is its 9-,10- and 11-year-olds, who are known within the program as Hammerhead Sharks.

According to Murphy, many of her Hammerheads are working toward becoming high school swimmers like the club’s two eldest members, Justin Skall and Daniel Hagy.

Skall, 15, and Hagy, 14, are occasionally utilized by Murphy as resources for the younger swimmers.

“Sometimes when Amy’s really busy, she’ll have us get in the pool and work on their strokes with them,” Hagy said. “Little kids ask a lot of questions. … They look up to us, but they also make fun of us.”

SCST’s girls side is led by SHS swimmers Alyson Brozovich and Agne Maziliauskaite and eighth graders Katie Lowe and Katie Andrews.

Lowe, a program veteran who logged 3,000 yards on Wednesday, considers herself a breaststroke specialist, but is also trying to increase her versatility.

“Amy’s starting to make me do all four strokes, so I’m tired,” said Lowe, whose two older brothers, Ryan and Eric, were both standout SHS swimmers. “Butterfly’s really hard, but it’s OK. It’s a challenge and challenges are fun.”

Although Murphy wants her kids to do well in meets, she places a higher value on stroke instruction than on winning ribbons.

“Younger kids working on technique may not be the first ones out there,” she explained. “I often give the kids certain things to focus on during a race like stroke distance and being long in the pool instead of just having them just try to beat the guy next to them. … When all of the sudden they mature, they’re strong, muscular and have a great stroke they’ve been learning since age 10. Then they’ll win races.”

Like Lowe, many young swimmers seem to have a natural aversion to the butterfly, which Murphy tries to combat as best she can.

“Strength wise, it’s the hardest,” Murphy conceded. “But when you’re little, you don’t have that much body weight to carry over. I think its kind of a misnomer not to teach it to kids because they think it’s so hard.”

A monthly cost is associated with each of SCST’s three levels. Tiger Sharks, age 8 and under, costs $50 per month (two practices per week); Hammerhead Sharks, ages 9-12, is $60 (three practices); and Great White Sharks, 13 and over, is $75 (four practices).

Summit’s next meet is the Alicia Leavitt Memorial Invite, June 8-10 in Salida.

Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at aboffey@summitdaily.com.


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