Special to the
Opelika Parks and Recreation’s Swim Team brought home 47 medals from the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association State Swim Meet. The 2016 State Swim Meet was held at the Birmingham Crossplex the first weekend in August and featured 1,100 swimmers from all over the state of Alabama.
The Opelika Swim Team won first in four events, second in nine events, third in seven events, fourth in nine events, fifth in five events and sixth in three events. They placed seventh overall out of 32 teams.
“I am really proud of the way our team performed this year,” said Mandy Johnson, aquatics director. “We were up against teams with 100 swimmers compared to our team of 50, so to finish seventh overall was a huge accomplishment for our small town.”
The Opelika Swim Team took the same number of swimmers to the State Swim Meet last year and brought home 20 medals compared to this year’s 47. Most of their swimmers were seeded in the top heats as well.
Johnson said she credits this year’s success to swimmers competing year-round and swimming on their USA Swim Team. Swimming year-round helped the team’s eight and under girls become the “stars of the team” by placing second and third in the medley relay and placing second and fourth in the freestyle relay. They placed in the top five in all of their individual events.
Johnson always tries to facilitate play time for the team to take the edge off what can be a stressful weekend for young athletes. “This year we took the kids to Chucky Cheese for a night,” said Johnson. “It’s a big reward at the end of the year for kids to go to state swim meet and spend the whole weekend with their family and their team and just have a good time. It’s fun to see all of their hard work come together and celebrate their success.”