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Swim Club Memories

Article by Caroline Miller of Montgomery Square-Copenhaver Pool

A Family Pool With an Olympic Tradition

Seven summers ago, when my eldest son began to show signs of swim talent, we checked out where we were on our neighborhood pool waiting list. Despite being on it for several years, the administrator of the list said, I have to be honest – you may never get in. We are still on that waiting list, but it doesn¹t matter because we are happily ensconced at Montgomery Square-Copenhaver Swim Club, where we will always stay. I¹d like to tell you why we drive almost twenty minutes to participate in the Montgomery Square activities and swim team every day, and why our investment of time and money has been one of the best we¹ve ever made.

Little did we know when we joined seven summers ago that we were joining a swim club that has the most extraordinary swimming tradition in the entire Montgomery County Swim League. There are several dozen teams in the MCSL, yet only one has produced three world-class swimmers, including one person – Mike Barrowman – who held the world record in the 200 Meter breast for over ten years. His swim in the 1992 Olympics was so extraordinary that it has been dubbed “The Perfect Race” by USS Swimming. Dan Veatch, the national champion in several backstroke events in the 1980¹s, finished seventh in the 1988 Olympics was also a Montgomery Square champion, as was Clay Britt, who was a world record-holder in backstroke, but was hurt by the 1980 Olympic boycott, a meet at which he was expected to do well.

Last summer, we chose to bring all three men back from all over the world to teach an Olympic swim clinic to members of many pools, not just our own, and to honor them with the most amazing record board ever created in swimming. These three men, none of whom are younger than 30, still own over half of the records on the record board, which speaks to the extraordinary legacy they created. The newspapers all came to cover the event, and the Washington Post made it their cover story in the Montgomery Extra section the week of the event.

All three men said that their talent was in place, but that it was only by having the fun and camaraderie at Montgomery Square that they were able to blossom. Each man looked up to the one who came before and was able to see that success was possible if they continued to work hard and enjoy summer swimming at the same time.

The Montgomery Square tradition lives on, and the team is beginning to march back up to prominence. This coming summer, we have a fabulous coach named Holly Sisk, who is studying for degrees in sports psychology and counseling, on top of continuing to swim as a masters swimmer. Her own swimming career was filled with success, too, as she was one of America's top young talents, and she was named to American's junior team. She will be overseeing two practices each day, starting in June, for the boys and girls who want to have a Seahawks summer. Joining her will be Sarah Gordon, a student at Swarthmore, who swam for the Seahawks for 11 summers before hanging up her goggles last summer.

If you take a look at the summer team dues and divide it by the number of days in the swim season, you'll see that your child can enjoy two outstanding swim practices a day, fun social events, weekly pep rallies, weekly swim meets, and much more, for about $3 per day. Is there any other activity that will bring you these types of rewards for under $5 per day in this entire region?

For more information, see: Montgomery Square – Copenhaver Swim Club