By TJ Millman
Years ago, Milford’s Shawnee Sharks swim team was the pinnacle of a young kid’s summer. Now, years after the team’s end, Milford swimmers get their summer fix swimming for the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club.
The team is made up of 6-18 year olds, all at different levels, with the sole goal of improvement. Whether members are brand new swimmers, or have been swimming for years, there is a spot on the team for all who wish to compete. Swimmers have practices anywhere from 2-5 times per week, depending on age group, and usually two meets per week.
The program states that athletes work to be a part of a team that encourages competitive spirit and success while teaching the values of the Boys & Girls Club. This program does not encourage swimmers focus on any one stroke. All swimmers will learn and practice all four competitive swimming strokes, which is something that upcoming sophomore Allison Benton is using to her advantage.
“I’m actually swimming in some of my worst events, as far as my high school season went. This gives me a chance to really work on those strokes for next year, and it also makes me a more rounded swimmer,” Benton said.
Benton was one of Milford’s top female swimmers last year and is joined on the team by another of Milford’s top swimmers, upcoming sophomore Mason Sauers. Sauers is coming off of an exciting freshman season where he qualified for the State Championship meet, and has been blowing out his competition so far this summer.
Aside from working on their own strokes, the high school swimmers also do their best to help with the younger swimmers on the team. They help demonstrate strokes in practice, and during meets they encourage all of their younger teammates to keep pushing hard.
Some swimmers are also using this opportunity to just have some fun. “Summer swim is more fun because the races and meets are shorter. We all love to swim, but if we can do 100 meters instead of 200, we can push ourselves harder, and that’s going to be more exciting,” upcoming junior Jarod Millman said.
Millman also said that he enjoys taking the opportunity to swim strokes that he does not always get to do during the school year. “Backstroke is my favorite stroke, but during the school season I don’t get to swim it, so it’s a lot of fun getting to do it now. Doing the 50 free has also been cool. My times have actually dropped a lot from when I swam backstroke during my freshman year, and it’s been fun trying to keep cutting time,” Millman said.
Though only a small portion of the milford high school swim team is swimming this summer, there is a lot of promise in the development of the younger swimmers. “We have a few younger girls who could be really good if they keep putting in the work. If they stick together and keep working hard, it will be interesting to see how they can help our high school team in a few years,” Benton said.
The next home meet for the Milford team is on Monday, July 16 at 6 PM.
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