Caroline Atseff admits she doesn't know the ins and outs of the CSRA Swim League scene quite yet.
Atseff's son, 9-year-old Alex Bates, is in his first summer swimming with the Jones Creek swim team. Atseff said the Blue Ridge Elementary School pupil has enjoyed the experience so far, and she wouldn't hesitate to sign him up again.
"I'm just learning from the other parents," Atseff said. "When we signed up, it seemed like a good activity for the summer. It gets him exercising, gives him goals and time with friends.
"And it shows him good sportsmanship."
Tuesday night, Jones Creek's team visited Springlakes for a CSRA Swim League meet. Springlakes won the meet, 271-254, though it was ended after Event 54 because of inclement weather.
The league divided into four divisions, based on the number of swimmers competing. Jones Creek and Springlakes, for example, had about 70 to 80 swimmers on Tuesday. They compete in Division 3, while teams with more swimmers fill up Divisions 1 and 2. The smallest teams are in Division 4.
While the competition between teams is important to some of the athletes, they mostly enjoy the camaraderie between teammates.
Marianne Petras' children Christy, 16, and Mitchell, 13, have been swimming for about nine years with Springlakes' team.
"They become friends with kids not just in their grade level. The 16-year-olds will support the 5-year-olds," Marianne Petras said.
Petras said that about 45 parent volunteers from the home side and about 25 to 30 parent volunteers from the visiting side are needed for each meet to go smoothly. Typically, swim team coaches are paid positions, as the swim teams usually practice every day during the summer season.
Diane Faircloth, whose daughters Jordan, 11, and Hannah, 8, swim for Springlakes, said they have come to know what to expect at meets.
At first, Faircloth said, the parents have to make sure swimmers don't miss their events, and must keep the younger swimmers from jumping into the pool before the event has started.
Jordan Faircloth said she has learned the ropes by now.
"Now it's easier," said Jordan, who will be a sixth-grader at Evans Middle School next year. "I know what I'm doing."
Jones Creek swimmer Michael Fisher enjoys both the competition and making friends at meets. While he looks forward to his events, the 8-year-old said he doesn't get nervous before them.
"When it comes, I just do it," he said.
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