The Bolivar Barracudas swim team will splash into the Aqua Zone pool for the program’s second-ever home swim meet Monday, June 24. 

Aquatics director Shawna Cheney said the organization first hosted a meet in 2013, but swimmers have since had to compete on the road. 

The tight-knit group of nearly 40 has the opportunity to defend its home turf as part of the 80-100 swimmers expected to hit the water later this month, Coach Clair Hubert said. 

The contest will be the team’s fourth meet this season.

“Some swimmers swim all the events,” she said. “Some swim what they can. Not all of them can do butterfly yet. Not all of them can do breastroke yet and that’s OK. They swim where they’re at.

“And they’re always trying to beat their time from the previous meet.”

There are 78 events, Hubert said, including individual events and relays. The Barracudas, who range in age from 7 to 18, compete by gender and age group. 

Kids aged eight and under swim against each other. Other categories include the nine- and 10-year-olds, the 11 and 12-year-olds, the 13- and 14-year-olds and those 15 through 18. 

Swimmers who frequently outpace their age group can swim up a category, Hubert said. Thirteen-year-old Owen Cornell will compete with those ages 15 through 18, she said. 

“I have him swimming up,” she said. “He’s swimming against the 17- and 18-year-olds because he’s at that level.”

But the whole team has made progress, she said. The team hosted a stroke clinic last week, and several swimmers picked up new strokes as a result of the one-on-one coaching offered, she said.

“All of them have made long strides this summer,” she said.

“A lot of them couldn’t do breaststroke or butterfly before that,” she added. “Now, they can do it. They catch on quick. It’s a fast sport and they learn quick.”

Coach Bailee Bahr, who oversees the younger swimmers, said form and mechanics are the mainstays of their practices. 

“Some of them, we’re just working on putting their faces in the water,” she said. 

Still, though, the new swimmers are eager to jump in the pool for competition — often racing in practice and looking forward to the next meet. No confidence boosters are needed for the burgeoning athletes, she said.

“Oh, they all think they’re awesome,” she said. “They’re all like, ‘Put me in butterfly, coach, I know it.’”

And swimmers are confident and encouraging with their teammates, too, Hubert said. The group starts and ends every practice together and also has a team cheer. That unity was on display at the team’s Eldon meet earlier this season. 

“For just about every event, I had a group of 10-15 kids cheering everybody on,” she said. “They’re there for each other. They’ve quickly built relationships with each other. They cheer for each other, and I want them to, because that’s half the fun of it. It’s an individual sport, but it’s also just as much of a team sport as anything else.”

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