Middle school swim meet slated for Saturday
Young swimmers will take center stage this weekend.
The Second Annual Middle School Swimming Championships will be held at Marcus Pool at 3 p.m. Saturday, open to any sixth- to eighth-grade swimmers. They will enter individually but will be associated with their school during the meet — which will feature 11 events each for boys and girls.
“It's more of a team meet. We'll hand out team plaques to the first to sixth place,” said Martin Reichgott, the head of Yuma Aquatics.
Day-of registration begins at 2:30 p.m. at Marcus Pool. Reichgott expects to have 20 schools competing in the event and says to keep an eye on Woodard, Castle Dome, Yuma Lutheran and Gila Vista, the defending champion.
“They're one of the schools that have PE swimming and have a couple of swimmers who swim year-round and encourage their classmates to come out and swim,” Reichgott said of Gila Vista.
While there may be some talented swimmers in the area, the key to the meet could be the number of swimmers a certain school can get to the pool.
“Some schools score because they have strong individuals but they don't have the depth,” Reichgott said. “It comes down to who has the most swimmers and who's the most excited to participate.”
Considering there aren't formal swimming programs at the middle schools, Reichgott feels that meets like this are important to get the junior high students some experience in the pool before they enter the high school level.
“We're trying to get them to think about swimming in the fall, that that would be their sport in high school. Mentally, these athletes are thinking this sport would be what they play in the fall. So that over four years of high school, they develop their skills and this middle school strong traditional event, it becomes ingrained into their minds that, ‘Of course I should be swimming, it's the fall.'”
Reichgott understands that while students may not be football or basketball players, they can find their niche as swimmers. He's hoping he can double the number of swimmers from last year's event and give the swimmers the kind of recognition that comes with other middle school sports — which means there's a combination of competition with having fun in the pool.
“Last year the swimmers were surprised it was a good mix of both. They were excited to compete and represent their school.”
Jesse Severson can be reached at email@example.com or at 539-6881. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson