Swim Team – A Lafayette Summer Tradition
June 21, 2017
For many Lafayette families, summer is synonymous with swim team. From June through August, phrases and words such as ‘pop time,’ ‘streamlining,’ and ‘making county’ command the local lingo, while well-exercised bodies subsist on a steady diet of microwaved popcorn and ring pops. To the uninitiated, swim team might seem a bit cult-like. The painted cars, painted hair, spirit signs affixed to telephone poles, and camp-like pool decks where participants huddle in sleeping bags are all part of the culture. For those involved in Lafayette’s six swim programs – LMYA, Las Trampas, Oakwood, Rancho Colorados, Springbrook and Sun Valley – swim team equals fitness, fun, and most of all, community.
As a former Las Trampas swim team member, an LMYA coach, and later a swim team mom, I can’t think of a better way to spend the summer. In what other sporting activity can you find all ages, from six to 18, working together, having fun, and getting exercise? Positive role modeling is one of the best parts of swim team; ‘spirit buddy’ programs pair younger and older swimmers together for reciprocal encouragement. High schoolers work in learn-to-swim programs such as the Springbrook ‘Piglets’ and the Rancho Colorados ‘Gutter Guppies.’
But swim team is not just for kids. Swim programs live by the ‘it takes a village’ credo. Parents are responsible for the vast number of meet jobs during the season. Everyone volunteers to make the program work, and sharing that time with other families is all part of the fun, like at City Meet, when all of the teams come together in spirited competition. I confess that sometimes it wasn’t easy to drag myself to early morning meets only to be splashed over and over as I sat poolside doing stroke and turn judging. Yet, those and other swim team-exclusive moments (i.e. the silly team cheers and the sight of the youngest members being led hand-in-hand to their starting blocks) comprise some of my favorite memories.
As the swim season winds down in August, and swimmers continue to strive for a coveted County Meet spot, where the fastest compete, families pack up their tents and coolers in eager anticipation of the next endless summer. County-bound or not, swim team offers something for everyone involved, and is part of the fabric of our Lafayette community.