Sarah, a seventh grader at Summit Denali, always wanted to be on a swim team. Since area middle schools didn’t have swim teams, Sarah realized it would be two years until she could race for her school. Sarah didn’t want to wait. Instead, she did what any determined and enterprising student would do – she decided to start her own swim team at Summit Denali.
Sarah, whose father Geoff is an avid swimmer, asked him to help her start the team. Working closely with the school and parents, Geoff and Sarah rallied supporters until they had 25 swimmers in 6th through 8th grade willing to attend 6:30 a.m. practices, participate in joint carpools and pitch in to host a meet. Summit Denali finally had its swim team.
“The swim team was just a dream, but after talking about it with my dad and principal, I realized that it wasn’t going to be as hard as I thought,” Sarah said. “There were other students who wanted to do it too, and now they’re my friends.”
Throughout the season, Sarah saw her swimming improve, shaving off a critical three seconds from her 25-yard lap by December. Geoff, who coached the team with Kristy, worked hard to secure practice facilities, organize rides to and from the pool in the early morning and schedule meets against swim clubs in the area. In December, the Summit Denali team hosted a meet where they placed second.
“In our first year, our students grew to become strong swimmers,” said Geoff. “Their hard work and dedication showed in the water and I’m thankful that Summit let us give kids another option for recreation. It’s through swimming that Sarah has made new friends, and I believe the added practice and exercise will give her and her teammates a greater ability to focus in school.”