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22 years for the Pagosa Lakes Swim Club

Pagosa Lakes Swim Club is looking for youngsters who enjoy swimming and who like to compete.

Started in 1988, when swimming meant splashing around in Cotton Hole (ask an oldtimer if you don’t know), the club has developed into one of the strongest competitive swim clubs on the Western Slope of Colorado.

The swim club carries a roster ranging in age from 8 to 18. The team is small, but each child on the team has improved beyond expectations. That every swimmer worked hard was evident in individual times that kept improving as the swim season progressed each year.

The club’s efforts in developing young swimmers also paid dividends these past several summers. While there have always been a couple outstanding swimmers in the program, in past years the club has not been able to field swimmers in every age group. These last two summers, each age group was represented by swimmers from Pagosa Lakes Swim Club.

In fact, a number of the swimmers from the club has gone on to swim on a high school team (and in this case, for Durango High School as one is not available here in Pagosa Springs). Of that number, half want to compete at the collegiate level.

This year, the swimmers will begin their training in April, with competitions lined up for June through early August. Swim practices, during the school year, will be held after school in the pool at the recreation center. Once school is out for the summer, all practices will take place at 7:30 a.m.

If you are interested in enrolling your child on the swim team, the following are some requirements. New swimmers are expected to have the ability to swim 25 yards freestyle and 25 yards backstroke without stopping. If your child is unable to do so, private swim lessons should be arranged beforehand.

There will be a two-week trial period for a new swimmer before the following requirements have to be met. Every swimmer is required to have a current Recreation Center membership, U.S. Swimming Association registration, and pay a monthly team fee. USSA registration is required for insurance purposes.

Swimmers are also required to purchase their own team suits. Mandatory participation in the team’s fund-raising events is expected. While the recreation center subsidizes the coaching costs, the money from fund-raisers cover traveling expenses for the swim team coach and the costs of any additional training equipment.

When competition gets going, during the summer months, registration fees at meets run about $2-$3 per event entered. Parents should add to that the cost of travel and lodging. At most swim meets in the summer, camping areas are available and lodging costs can be kept to a minimum by camping.

The continued success of this swim program, as it begins its 22nd year, will depend on the hard work of the swimmers, the support of the parents, and the quality of training provided by Coach Tiffany Candelaria.

Coach Candelaria is new to the team this year, but she certainly is no stranger to our club. She started her swimming career with the Pagosa Lakes Swim Club (as a wee tyke) and went on to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins where she swam for the school. She also worked as an assistant swim coach in Fort Collins. Currently, in addition to being a part-time science teacher at our junior high school, Candelaria also coaches our master swimmers.

Interested parents and swimmers can call Coach Candelaria, 946-6152, with their questions. Although this is clearly a major commitment, the rewards justify the efforts. Competitive swimming is a marvelous sport; it encourages self-discipline and builds self-confidence.

Coach Candelaria will be available to meet with parents and swimmers this Monday, March 22, at 6 p.m. at the junior high school library. This is also a swim team meeting — an opportunity, if you are new to the program, to ask questions, meet the coach and other swimmers and their parents and to sign up to join the swim team.