The palpable excitement in the air, the athletes readying for their race, the splash as they enter the water—a swim meet is one of summer’s true joys.
The perfect recreational team for any young swimmer, the STC Otters sees its season begin June 5 and run through July 20. Both an individual as well as a team sport, swimming builds strength and stamina as well as a sense of community and camaraderie in its participants. Swimmers on the STC Otters team range in age from 6 to 16.
“I think we pride ourselves in creating a fun environment for new and experienced swimmers alike,” said Alex Hartzell, aquatics and youth programs supervisor for the St. Charles Park District.
The park district partners with the organization St. Charles Aquatics to provide top-notch coaching at practices and meets.
“Many are from Norris Recreation Center so they’re year-round coaches while other part-time staff are previous swimmers or currently swim at their high school or in college,” Hartzell said.
In addition to professional level coaching, the swim team also features easy and flexible practice schedules. Parents can sign their children for practices at either Otter Cove Aquatic Park or Swanson Pool.
“We have morning and evening practices and parents do not need to commit to a specific facility or practice time for the whole of the season,” said Hartzell, adding that it was feedback from the community that helped guide this current arrangement. Home meets take place at Swanson Pool.
Hartzell enjoys watching as swimmers progress throughout the season, fine tuning strokes while exhibiting improved endurance in the water.
“It’s so great to see the kids light up as they go from the first week to the last,” she said. “They learn how to swim butterfly, which is a difficult stroke, or they clock a little faster time.”
Swimmers ages 6 to 8 take part in up to four practices weekly, while kids in the 9 to 10 and 11 to 16 age groups practice up to five times a week. All participants receive a swim cap and T-shirt.
To learn more and to register, visit ottercove.org/swim-team.