First-year members of the Brownstown Brave Wave swim team had just as much fun as the veterans when they helped their team win the South Central Conference meet Thursday at the Mitchell Park Pool.
The Brownstown girls outscored Mitchell 328-162, while the boys earned a 276-123 advantage. Overall, the Brave Wave won 604-285.
Brownstown coach Maria Conklin said a majority of the 58 team members — ranging in age from 7 to 18 — had the opportunity to compete in the meet.
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“As long as they can swim, they can join the team,” said Conklin, who has been with the program for four years and completed her second season as head coach.
She guided the squad to a record of 3-1 during the regular season with the lone loss coming against Bedford.
Bradley Edwards, who placed first in the 100 freestyle and helped the Brave Wave place first in the medley and freestyle relays in the boys 11-12 competition, has been with the team for eight years.
“I swim because my sister did it,” he said of why he joined the team. “I like the freestyles and the breaststroke. I like the individual events.”
Edwards said he doesn’t mind the practices because he knows that is the best way for him to improve his times.
“I like the water,” he said.
He plans to continue to swim again next summer and hopes to swim in high school.
Victoria Gomez, who was busy picking up first-place trophies in the 50 backstroke and 50 breaststroke, said the conference meet was a good experience.
She also swam on the winning 100 freestyle and 100 medley relay teams but said her favorite event is the breaststroke.
“I’ve been swimming for five years,” she said. “I just wanted to try something new when I was little. I thought it would be fun, and it has been.”
The younger age groups swim 25-yard events, but beginning with the 11-12 age group, the swimmers swim 50 yards. Gomez said she has had to work harder in practice to get in shape for the 50-yard events.
Winning three individual events for the Brownstown girls were Kaitlyn Williams in the 11-12 division, Kelsey Walker and Maren McClure in the 13-14 group and Jessica Isaacs in the 15-18 division.
Winning two individual events were Isabella Gomez and Cambell Shasteen.
Triple individual winners for the boys were Cassius Sumpter in the 11-12 group, Dylan Minton in the 13-14 division and Jeremy Pitts in the 15-18 competition.
Damien Owens won two individual events in the 9-10 group. Brownstown swimmers won 10 relays.
“The kids really like the program,” Conklin said. “It’s really good exercise, and most of them love to swim. They can learn all of the strokes, and swim safety is the big, important thing. They liked to be competitive.”