After having its 2020 season sunk by COVID, McMinnville Swim Team is preparing for its first meet June 3 with 127 swimmers on board.
That’s the largest team ever for veteran swim coach and former Olympic medalist Paige Northcutt.
“Our kids have good skill in the water,” said Northcutt. “Even the little bitties, the 4-year-olds, can swim. We don’t swim year-round like the other teams we face, but we have a lot of kids on the team and there is great interest in swimming.”
Matt Jackson is an accomplished swimmer himself and he’s been working with the older swimmers from ages 11-18.
“We’ve been in the water for three weeks so we’re starting to build up our endurance,” said Jackson.
The first swim meet is on the road in Winchester on Thursday, June 3. McMinnville Swim Team has its first home meet on Tuesday, June 8 against Manchester. That meet starts at 5:30 p.m. at Gilley Pool.
Northcutt said the team has the minimal requirement that you must be able to swim in order to participate.
“It’s a sport for everybody, provided you can swim,” said Northcutt. “We’re not here to give lessons. We’re a swim team so you have to swim. In a sport like soccer, little kids can walk on the field and play, regardless of their skill level. For us, you have to be able to swim.”
Team members were certainly swimming from one end of Gilley Pool to the other Friday afternoon during practice. They were using kick boards and flippers to strengthen their legs in some of the practice exercises.
All of the strokes were being practiced, including the tricky backstroke.