Swim League Caps Season With Banquet
The pursuit of ribbons and medals is intense when young swimmers from five area clubs compete in the Moore County Swim League Championships each summer.
More important are the friendships that develop among the swimmers, coaches and families. It also provides opportunities for many youngsters to learn to swim and get their first taste of competition.
Members of the Sandhills Sandsharks Swim Club that won both the boys and girls competitions received their individual awards at a pizza and pool party held at the O'Neal School, Thursday afternoon.
Other teams involved in the seven-week season that ended with the July 21 meet held at O.T. Sloan Park in Sanford were from the Elks Club, Pinehurst Parks and Recreation, Country Club of North Carolina and Seven Lakes.
"We're pleased with the league and how far it has come in the past few years," Sandsharks coach Owen Herbert says. "We're grateful for having an environment where there is great sportsmanship. It's a proud moment for the swimmers and the coaches."
Julia Lattarulo, a rising Pinecrest freshman, who won the 50-yard breaststroke (13-14), enjoys the friendship opportunities that come from the summer program. She swims for the Sandsharks Club during the regular season, but competes for the Elks Club in the summer league.
"The cool thing is that I know people from the Sandsharks and I know people from the Elks team," she says. "I can get them together and they can make more friends so it's good for the community."
About 120 swimmers competed in age group divisions that ranged from six and under to 13-14. The Sandsharks were coached by Herbert and Beth Field with help from older club members Casey Cooper and Meghan Wohlrab.
Field especially enjoys watching beginners learn to swim and compete in races for the first time.
"It's just nice to see the success when somebody who wasn't able swim from start to finish all of a sudden can do it," she says. "Then you see their parents going nuts with their camcorders, filming everything. It's easy in that the parents cheer for everybody. And the ones bringing up the rear probably get the biggest applause. It's just a feel good moment."
Allison DiTomasso was named the girls' swimmer of the meet and Eugene Zhang captured that honor for the boys. Each was a member of a Sandsharks winning relay team that set a meet record and captured three races individually.
Individual meet records were broken by Zang (SS), 11-12 50-free and 100-IM, Molly Schmitz (SS), 6-under 25-butterfly, Will Blackwood (CCNC) 6-under 25-butterfly, Hannah Burns (SS), 7-8 25-butterfly, Ellie Henry (SS) 7-8 25-backstroke and Karlyn Ferguson (SS) 9-10 25-breaststroke. (Complete meet results can be found at www.sandshark.org.
"We're pleased with the league and how far it has come in the past few years," Herbert, who was honored as MCSL Coach of the Year, says. "The quality of swimmers we are producing is definitely a higher caliber than it was in the past."
Contact Charlie Bergmann by e-mail at email@example.com.
Team standings: Boys 1. Sandsharks, 2. C.C. of North Carolina, 3. Elks Club, 4. Seven Lakes Sting Rays, 5. Pinehurst Parks and Rec.; Girls 1. Sandsharks, 2. Seven Lakes Sting Rays, 3. Elks Club, 4. Pinehurst Parks and Rec., 5. C.C. of North Carolina
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