Port Aransas Swim Team splashes to victories
The Port Aransas Swim Team is wrapping up another season, and some team members once again have advanced to state competition.
But, in a sense, all of the swimmers have come out winners.
"I think, no matter what level they're at, they get positive reinforcement," said Nana Ward, coach of the team. "They get rewarded for their accomplishments, no matter how small or great. At practices, we really promote positive reinforcement, cheering each other on. It's like a big family."
As for competition, the team has been consistently successful over the years, with swimmers earning the right to compete at the state level every year since the team was founded in 1999.
This year, Matt Beyer, 13, and Jenna Ward, 12, will go to the state meet July 25-27 at the Palo Alto College natatorium in San Antonio.
The Port Aransas team competed in the Corpus Christi Swim League against the Santa Fe, Flour Bluff, Odem and Corpus Christi Club Estates swim teams. One of the meets was at the island team's home pool at Port Aransas Community Park. Ward said she's hoping to host more meets next season.
The Port Aransas team won three out of the four meets it took part in this season. That record is all the more impressive considering the fact that the Port Aransas team is not as big as the other teams.
"The kids were very successful and improved as the season went on," Ward said. "I'm very proud. They worked hard."
Ward's coaching might be part of the reason the team has won so much. It's no wonder she's a successful coach. She was a state champion swimmer and ranked as an all-American while attending Corpus Christi's Ray High School in 1981, 1982 and '83.
Ward said parent volunteers have been a big part of the Port Aransas Swim Team's success. Among other things, volunteers have kept score, kept swimmers organized, assigned lane cards (telling swimmers where they are to swim); and served as stroke-and-turn judges, who make sure competitors do legal kicks and touch the pool walls correctly when completing laps.
"It takes a lot of parents doing a lot of work to pull off a swim meet," Ward said.
The swim team was started by Port Aransans Ward, Ken Dunton, Suanne Pyle and Crystal Vickers.
"We wanted the kids to have this opportunity," Ward said. "The new pool was being built (at Port Aransas Community Park), and we felt like Port Aransas should have a swim team."
"I hope this will encourage kids to stay active and to swim their whole life," Ward said. "I feel like that's an important thing, healthwise."