Swim team members improving their skills

Liz Pyles
South Siskiyou Swim Team coach Rich Viturino explains the next drill to the older group of swimmers during practice on Wednesday, July 12, at the Weed Community Pool. Photo by Liz Pyles

The South Siskiyou Swim Team is making a big splash at the Weed Community pool with 66 kids from throughout Siskiyou County on the team this summer. Coach Rich Viturino said it’s been a good season.

Last Wednesday, the older kids swam laps for warm up and then practiced freestyle flip-turns at the pool wall. Practice continued with counting backstrokes from flags suspended over the water to the pool wall. It was difficult for some kids who were nervous about bumping into the wall while doing the backstroke.

Friends Patrick Hill and Behr Marshall said swim team is fun and it’s a good workout. Patrick said, “It’s fun exercise.” Behr said, “Rich is the nicest coach ever. He likes making us work.” Patrick said he’s been on the team for five or six years. Behr said this is his second year.

Mia Morris, 12, has been on the team since she was five. She said she likes it. “It’s good exercise for me. For me, whenever I’m having a bad day, it keeps me from thinking about everything because I have so many good friends here.” She said she likes the races and made a goal to drop all her times by five seconds.

Viturino said some of the younger swimmers start the season with no experience and have to get over their fear of the deep end. “Now the majority can all swim without assistance,” he said.

A lot of the older kids work with the younger swimmers. Viturino said that’s when he feels the older kids learn a lot, because they have to explain what to do.

He said his biggest reward is watching what the kids accomplish from the beginning to the end of the season and seeing the smiles on their faces.

Viturino said, “All the different schools are represented on the team. It doesn’t matter where they’re from, they come together as a team.

Many swimmers are multi-sport athletes. One of the biggest struggles is working around all the athletes’’ summer schedules. He said usually about 10 to 15 can make the meets.

As of last Wednesday, they competed at meets in Orland and Red Bluff. This weekend they will travel to Weaverville. On Wednesday, July 26, the Siskiyou County Meet will be held in Weed at the community pool.