Riptide ~ Rivercrest's Swim Team Takes the Win
Fast and Furious
2nd-Year Rivercrest Grows in Numbers, and Wins
By Matt Brooks (Contact)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Sterling’s Rivercrest Pool blends in nicely with the suburban sprawl surrounding its rod iron fences. Nicely tucked in between large family homes and young trees in full summer bloom, it’s a serene spot just beyond the bustle and traffic of Algonkian Parkway. On Saturday mornings, however, the scene is anything but.
Kids of all ages, sporting their Speedos and all forms of Sharpie-inspired body art, crowd around a pool with nary an inch to spare, screaming and cheering as two teams face off in the water. It’s just another swim meet in the Old Dominion Swim League.
Rivercrest Pool first opened in 1999, just as its surrounding neighborhood of the same name was beginning to fill in with homes. But it wasn’t until last summer that Rivercrest and its 350 homes had a swim team to call their own. What started with 60 boys and girls a year ago has nearly doubled to 110, and with a new coaching staff this season, the Riptide is tearing through the league.
“Everyone is just excited to be out here swimming and supporting the team,” first-year coach Andrew Donnelly said. “We’ve got a new coaching staff, we’ve got great parents and volunteers and now we’ve got a great team, too.”
After a 457-303 victory against Brambleton on Saturday, the Riptide boast a 4-1 record and sit just behind the Bettas at the top of the ODSL’s fifth division. The team’s success is due in large part to its growth and new members, including assistant coaches Justin Jenter and Maddie Bullock. Both swim for Dominion High School and had previously been members of other summer teams, but Jenter and Bullock have found a new home at Rivercrest.
“I swam with the Sterling Park Seahawks for 10 years, but when they started a team here it just made sense to join because it’s much closer to my house,” Bullock said. “But I love coaching and swimming with Rivercrest. It’s so much fun to see the kids excited about swimming. It’s great to watch them improve through lessons and during meets after working with them in practice.”
For Jenter, who recently left Sugarland to join the Riptide, the summer league provides a respite from the demands of the winter high school season.
“It’s a lot more relaxed,” Jenter said. “The skill level is a lot different obviously. This is a developmental level, so some kids can swim and some don’t even know how to doggie paddle. There are a lot of disqualifications, but really it’s about learning how to swim and having fun.”
Bullock and Jenter, both 17, are key contributors as instructors in practice and in the water during meets. In Saturday’s win, Bullock took second in the 50-meter backstroke while Jenter won his 50-meter butterfly heat and anchored the boys 15-to-18 200-meter medley relay.
“It’s a good workout,” said Bullock – who also plays volleyball and tennis at Dominion. “I usually don’t do much for swimming in the summer because I play three sports during the school year. I like to stay in shape for that, but I needed something to make me work out in the summer, and our practices here are really, really tough.”
As Rivercrest continues to grow, Donnelly expects his swimmers to develop and improve through competition and hopes that winning takes care of itself.
“I don’t really care how we do and if we win meets, I just care that everyone has fun and enjoys it,” he said. “At this age group it’s really important that these kids enjoy swimming. They can get better later on down the road toward high school, but they’ve got to have this foundation.”
Article taken from http://loudounextra.washingtonpost.com/news/2008/jul/12/matts-2nd-swim-story/