To bridge the gap from a recreational summer to the highly competitive fall, a number of Johns Creek swimmers are hitting the pool at Seven Oaks this month, training and preparing to represent Johns Creek in the Georgia Parks and Recreation Association state meet this weekend — held annually at the Lakeshore Natatorium in Carrollton.
“Summer leagues are recreational and can be lax as far as practice goes,” said Johns Creek Aquatic Team (JCAT) coach Drew Hinsch. “So when they get to JCAT’s, [we] have them do a lot of body weight exercises and lots of yardage to get their conditioning up.”
The 2012 JCAT team consists of 80 swimmers, which Hinsch said are mostly experienced, broken into age groups of 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 year olds for each event.
To make the JCAT team, swimmers swam the Atlanta Swim Association (ASA) qualifying meet on June 30 — with the top three swimmers in each event and top 12 freestyle swimmers qualifying for the team.
Practice began the following week and their season will culminate with the JCAT’s only competition of the year in Carrollton.
With a number of experienced club swimmers on board, Hinsch is optimistic about this weekend’s meet and what his individuals can accomplish.
“Knox Auerbach (13-14 age group) has a chance to break some records and Holley Riddle (15-18) won the 50-free last year at state and is coming back again this year,” said Hinsch of two of his older swimmers before pointing out Kate Del Balzo as another talented 13-year old that swims the butterfly.
Among his younger competitors, Hinsch mentioned Nathan Jin (7-8) as a promising young swimmer that has mastered all four strokes of the individual medley and Jack Levelle as one of his top boys in the 9-10 year old division.
“Savannah Slater is a great [individual medley swimmer] and Sydney Hennessey doesn’t swim year round but she can beat most year round swimmers.”
While the JCAT team will travel to Carrollton as a team, once the swimmers hit the water Hinsch said individual improvement will be the chief goal.
“The main thing we want to see is every kid drop their times this summer.”