The Unsung Heroes of Summer Swim Leagues

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The Unsung Heroes of Summer Swim Leagues

The golden glimmers of sunset dance in reflections across the pool’s rippling surface, as swimmers both new and old gather in their lanes for the start of practice. A symphony of squealing 7-year-olds complaining about the cold water coincides with the repeating echo of “Take your mark, go!”

Coaches stand tall and proud in front of their team, ranging from kindergartners to high school seniors, whom they will try to transform into advanced swimmers by the end of the summer. Throughout this process, swimmers grow to admire their summer league coaches, as a clear sense of coaches’ passion and determination for their swimmers to improve illuminates in even the toughest of practices.

Often starting out with a group of children who struggle to complete one lap, summer league coaches do their very best to not only have their swimmers excel, but also fall in love with the sport of swimming. However, all of the coaches’ hard work and dedication to their swimmers would mean nothing without the help of the unsung heroes of summer swim leagues. 

Working behind the scenes in positions that most swimmers do not even realize exist, volunteers for summer swim leagues bend over backwards each year doing whatever they can to ensure that their team, meets and season run smoothly. 

“What work isn’t involved!” laughed chairman of the Monmouth County Swimming Conference (MCSC) Adam Yee. “Normally, this position involves running and organizing the league, creating schedules and discussing potential rule changes. But, I also feel like I’m the one that makes sure every team has and submits what they need.”

From verifying roster submissions to confirming facilities’ insurances, Yee takes part in everything needed to operate a swim league and then some. Putting in roughly five hours of work a day toward the MCSC, while also balancing a full-time job and parenting his three sons, Yee’s schedule is clearly filled. Despite all of this, Yee has continued volunteering in various league positions for the past seven years. 

While serving as the chairman of a summer swim league is an incredibly significant role, Yee is quick to recognize the equally important roles that all of the other volunteers provide to the upkeep of the league. Timing, officiating and marshaling kids to their lanes are all critical jobs that rely on volunteers stepping forth and sacrificing their time to help out their team. These specific roles allow swimmers to understand the immediate effect and importance of the volunteers that pitch in during meets. Yet, there are additionally far more obscure volunteer responsibilities that some swimmers and even parents are unaware of. Taking place outside of the pool deck’s spotlight, many critical positions are completed without much recognition, and this can especially be seen with much of the computer-based work involved with summer swim leagues. 

“I created the team member database, managed team roster information and designed lane timer sheets for the season,” Linda Griswold, former Monmouth Heights Stingrays data information coordinator, explained. “As each season progressed, I recorded swimmers’ times from time trials, dual meets and championship meets, using special computer programs such as Team Manager and Meet Manager.”

On meet day, the anticipation to see who is entered in what event distracts swimmers from realizing all the work that volunteers like Griswold do to create the meet sheets they are so anxious to read. Not only that, but the joy on a swimmer’s face when they arrive to practice the next day and are greeted with a best-time ribbon can all be credited to the calculations and programming completed by the teams’ data information coordinators. Despite the fact that swimmers may not recognize all the effort that volunteers put in for just one summer league season, both Yee and Griswold agree that there are more valuable reasons for dedicating their long hours beyond the recognition.

As a mother of two swimmers who have been competing for 19 years, Griswold felt rewarded in being able to see the waves of new swimmers come out for their first seasons. “I really enjoyed reminiscing about my kids while watching children come in who, at first, had to work to make it one lap,” Griswold recalled. 

Witnessing the start of so many young swimming careers reminded Griswold of why she and so many other volunteers choose to put in all this hard work required to maintain a swim league. 

“The best reward is seeing young swimmers grow up into head coaches and passing along the same passion and values that I’ve tried to display over the years,” Yee expressed. “It’s about providing an environment for them to thrive in not only swimming but life in general.”

It is this very sentiment of the volunteers that fosters a successful swim league and a place for swimmers to create some of their fondest summer memories.

4 comments

  1. avatar
    Dana Heatley (Hunter)

    Thank you and the coaches for all your hard work this summer in swimming. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule . Until next summer stay safe and thanks again.

  2. avatar
    Tricia Barr

    Wonderful article, summer swim does require “all hands on deck.” So glad to always be able to do our part to supply our wonderful coaches!

  3. avatar
    Helen Farina

    Thank you for this wonderful article it is. So true These Dedicated people who help the youth are just that dedicated people who believe in what they’re doing because they’ve been there themselves and they appreciate it that’s why their coaches thank you thank you thank you for giving them the acknowledgment that they need I’m sure they appreciate all you’ve said and done for them thanks again

  4. avatar
    Clarence Aitken

    AS past summer league pres (9) , Missouri Valley board (5) and USA swim official (35 +); this says it all. We are drawn to chlorine as i was Tuesday to summer Championships. The old feelings surfaced and i wanted to be on deck that night. To be involved with the excitement and vibes from the swimmers. Dont forget our summer officials who are working the Olympics saturday. What a thrill!!

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