Sports

Marlins dive into summer swim season

Jessica Booth uses a float board during Marlins swimming practice at the M-P High School pool. -
Jessica Booth uses a float board during Marlins swimming practice at the M-P High School pool.
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MARYSVILLE As the sweltering summer weather kicks in around the Pacific Northwest, swimmers in the Marysville area are seeking relief by joining the Mighty Marlins swim club.
Although the clubs 11-month season officially kicks off in mid-September with the beginning of the school year, club managers say swimmers of all ages and almost all abilities are invited to join up any time of year.
We have a big sign-up in the fall and the beginning of summer, said Marlins organizer Meredith Jenks.
Theres no age restriction, just ability, she added, noting would-be Marlins should be able to swim 25 yards of the crawlstroke, backstroke and breaststroke.
The flexible sign-up date makes the Marlin program more attractive to students who play school sports, allowing athletes to take a season off for soccer, for instance.
Marlins coach Kirby Schaufler said he takes pride in the fact that many families join the Marlins together. Although the Mighty Marlins squad is made up of swimmers ranging in age from about five to 18, adult swimmers have formed the Middle Aged Marlins, or MAMs for short.
The MAMs is our masters swim team, which you have to be over 18, Schaufler said. Its mostly mothers of swimmers. Its the parents that are here anyway that want to swim.
The coaches dont expect their youngest members like six-year-old Bindi Pedersen to compete with the older swimmers though. The Marlins have different meets for different swimmers abilities.
Schaufler said that while the 15 swimmers who went to the Senior Seattle Open this weekend were his fast, older kids, 11-year-old Morgan Ginnis went along to compete as well.
Shes really fast. Shes nationally ranked, Schaufler said, adding that the swimming standout started competing with the Marlins at four years old.
Though the privately managed club practices at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School pool, they cover their expenses with an annual Swim-A-Thon fundraiser, with this years Swim-A-Thon taking place July 9. Swimmers help raise funds by seeking pledges from friends and family for laps swam.
The fundraiser has been successful in the past, according to Jenks, who related a favorite Swim-A-Thon story. One year, she said, a swimmer surprised a sponsor who pledged a dollar a lap by swimming 300 laps.
Schaufler said that while they hope to use funds from this years event to buy scoreboards for the pools six lanes, the money helps out in other places too, like their family movie nights.
Right now, the Marlins are getting ready for the upcoming Pacific Northwest Swim meet July 26-29, which Schaufler said is one of their three biggest meets of the year. Last year, the squad finished 11th out of 50, which the coach said is very good considering the Marlins relative resources to rival clubs in the Seattle metro area.
Were kind of the best of the rest we do really well for a small club, Schaufler said.

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