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Federal Way Stingrays take on Auburn in ‘newbies’ showdown
By Christie Welsh, Special to The Mirror
Early last Saturday morning (Aug. 1), the Federal Way Stingrays challenged the Auburn Sharks to a dual swim meet at the Federal Way Community Center.
The Stingrays are in their second year as a team and have had an excellent turnout this year. The two teams are part of a newer summer swim league in the area created as an introduction to swim team. The kids, ages 6-18, come straight out of swim lessons, and are not quite ready for the commitment of year-round clubs, or for the high level of competition of the private summer swim leagues. This league gives the kids a chance to see what the swimming world in all about.
“The idea is to let the kids ease into the competitive side of swimming and be able to make a decision to continue on by the end of the season,” says Head Coach Christie Welsh. “We found too many of our strong swimmers in our lesson program were hesitating about moving on to club swimming. With the ‘Splash!’ summer league, they are able to give it a try without worrying about being the best.”
Ribbons are handed out at the meets, but celebrated even more are the personal bests the swimmers achieve when they beat their own record in the different events.
“We encourage the kids to race against the clock, not necessarily against the other team. When a child has broken his or her own record, it is much more of an achievement worth celebrating, a truer reflection of the hard work paying off,” Welsh said.
In fact, it is hard to disqualify yourself in the dual meets. The coaches in this league know this is a learning process, and use the practice meets to teach the kids what they need improve on. The only time the kids will actually DQ is at the final championship meet, which will be held at the Auburn Pool on Saturday, Aug. 15.
To learn more about the Federal Way Stingrays, call (253) 835-6944.