Fighting Fish get ready

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Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
 Some members of this year’s Groveport Fighting Fish swim team are, from left to right: Ashley Stewart, Kendall Miller, Matthew Harrell, Carly Miller, and Noah Harrell.

The Groveport Fighting Fish swim team is getting ready to dive into another season of fast paced competition.

"We usually do pretty well," said parent volunteer Scott Stewart of the Fighting Fish. "We have all sorts of talent, including some swimmers in their first year and others who’ve been swimming year round. About 15 to 20 percent of our swimmers swim year round and they excel."

The Fighting Fish, a competitive swim team for boys and girls ages 5-18, competes in the 12 team Tri-County League, which includes the Baltimore Sea Lions, Canal Winchester Mariners, Chevington Woods King Fish, Bexley Marlins, Groveport Fighting Fish, Huntington Hills Froggers, Lancaster Country Club Waves, Moundbuilders Country Club, Pataskala Porpoises, Spring Valley Sting Rays, Valley View Gators, and Millersport Swim Team.

Stewart said the Fighting Fish’s biggest competition in the league will most likely be the Chevington Woods King Fish.

"They’re the toughest," said Stewart. "They’ve won the league the past three years. They’re a very good team. But, like any sport, the dynamic of the league can change from year to year."

About the Fighting Fish

Team assistant Jason Harrell said Groveport has a long swim team history.

"The Groveport swim team started back in the 1970s at the old pool on Hendron Road," said Harrell. "In the 1980s, the team became known as the Groveport Guppies. In the early 1990s the team began to grow and retooled a bit. We were looking for a different, newer image and came up with the name, the Fighting Fish."

Stewart said the Fighting Fish swim team averages about 100 members each year and is looking for swimmers interested in joining this year’s team. He said swimmers can register for the team at the Groveport Recreation Center until May 31. One need not be a member of the Groveport Recreation Center or the Groveport Aquatic Center to be on the team, but, if the swimmer is not a member, then a program fee of $35 for Groveport residents or $45 for non-residents is required to join the squad. Additionally, the Fighting Fish team membership fee is $55. Stewart noted the Fighting Fish did not raise their fees this year.

The team begins practice May 27 with morning sessions outdoors in the Groveport Aquatic Center and evenings in the indoor pool at the Groveport Recreation Center.

"The Groveport Rec Center is great to work with," said Stewart.

Benefits of swimming

"Swimming provides physical fitness, it’s great aerobic exercise," said Harrell. "It works all the muscles. It’s a great recreational sport everyone can participate in at all age levels."

Swimmer Kendall Miller, 11, added, "It keeps me in shape and helps me stay healthy, plus I make a lot of friends."

Her sister, Carly, 8, agreed stating, "We make a lot of friends swimming and I like to get in the water. I just like to swim."

Matthew Harrell, 11, and Noah Harrell, 9, also said being on the team has created many friendships for them, plus Matthew added, "It’s cool."

Now in her fourth season with the Fighting Fish, Ashley Stewart, 12, started swimming when she was 6.

"My mom signed me up then," said Ashley. "I didn’t want to, but then I started to like it. It was more fun than I thought it would be. It’s good exercise."

Ashley’s favorite race is the 50 meter breast stroke because it requires a swimmer develop speed for a short distance.

She noted swimming and being on the team also teaches discipline and leadership. Ashley did say one drawback is the chilling affect unpredictable Ohio spring and summer weather has on swimming.

"It’s hard to swim when the water is cold, but you get used to it," said Ashley.

For information on the Fighting Fish, visit www.groveportswimteam.com.

2008 Fighting Fish schedule

June 14 – Millersport

June 18 – Chevington Woods

June 25 – at Canal Winchester

June 29 – at Valley View Invitational

July 2 – at Pataskala

July 9 – Huntington Hills

July 12 – at Bexley Invitational

July 14 – at Baltimore

July 24 – Tri-County League championships at Canal Winchester

(Home meets are at the Groveport Aquatic Center. Dual meets start at 5:30 p.m. Invitational times are to be determined.)

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