Summer is a time for fun in the sun.
And that’s how it is for the Philadelphia Sports Club Highpoint swim team. The Stingrays combine fun with competitive swimming to bring out the best in each swimmer.
Newcomer Ruth Kim is enjoying her first year with the program.
“It was a good decision for me to come here,” said Kim, 12, who is entering seventh grade at Pennfield Middle School. “I’m swimming well. The coaches have helped me a lot. I also like how everyone on the team is really close. It’s a good combination of team spirit, fun and competitiveness.”
Head coach Sean Kelly would agree with that.
“We try to balance being fun with introducing the kids to the sport of swimming,” said Kelly, now in his 25th year of coaching the team. “That’s the heart of our program.
“It’s a family, it’s tradition. The focus of our summer program is drill and techniques and creating that passion and love for the sport. It’s so much fun on summer nights. Everyone’s just sitting around the pool and enjoying great races.
“We’ve had a lot of improvement. We had a lot of personal best times at our Richboro meet we’re trying to get these kids to have that special race, but more importantly they’re making memories with their friends. That’s what summer swimming is about.”
For many swimmers, it’s an opportunity to continue swimming competitively with fewer constraints.
“It’s more relaxed and there’s less pressure,” said Abigail Chayka, 13, who attends Unami Middle School. “It’s a fun place to be in the summer. Not having all that pressure helps me love the sport more.”
Swimmers work their way up from the bronze group to the silver to the platinum and Kelly has added a new group, the developmental Ducks.
“Our Ducks are typically 4 to 6 years old and they’re loving it,” he said. “Our goal with those kids is that we want them to move into the bronze and become a part of our swimming family, hopefully for the next 14-15 years.”
For some of the older swimmers, working with the Ducks is the best part of the team.
“I’ve been working with the Ducks and the bronze group for about a month and a half and it’s been great,” said Maddie Majewski, 14, who is entering her freshman year at Central Bucks West. “Getting to know the younger swimmers is the best part. They’re the future of our swim team, and I like to think I’m helping them get to the next step.
“This is their first taste of competitive swimming and I want to encourage them and help them see all the good parts of swimming. When we’re at meets and I see the younger kids do well and get excited about their times, that just makes it so special for me.”
At age 6, Caroline Kelly is one of the youngest swimmers.
“I’ve been swimming for two years now,” said Kelly, a first grader at Patricia A. Guth Elementary School. “I started because I like swimming and I’ve been around the pool a lot. I really like being in the bronze group. I’m learning a lot and it’s so much fun, even when I don’t swim fast.”
Many competitive swimmers got their start at PSC Highpoint.
“This is where I really got into swimming,” said Olivia Kazloff, 14, who will be a freshman at Central Bucks West in the fall. “I started out in the bronze group about five years ago and worked my way up to platinum. It’s really a feeling of accomplishment when you move up.”
PSC Highpoint provides variety for the more experienced swimmers.
“I like that we have so many different ages on the team and that we can have boys and girls swimming together on relays,” said Abby Fee, 15, a sophomore at Central Bucks South. “You can’t do that in high school.