The Seven Oaks Marlins swim club hit a milestone this year, finishing undefeated for the second consecutive season and also winning two major area meets – the Tarheel Swimming Association championships meet and the North Raleigh championship meet.
“Winning that North Raleigh championship was a big highlight because it’s been a long time since we’ve won it,” head coach Priscilla Overton said. “That was a huge plus for us.”
Overton says the club, based at Raleigh’s Seven Oaks Swim & Racquet Club, fosters its success in the basics.
“Our focus during practice for the younger kids is 90 percent technique – refining their strokes,” she said. “We don’t focus as much on endurance with 10-and-under, so when they are older they have the really great stroke and we can work on endurance and them getting faster.”
All participants can swim at the meets, but the club can only enter three swimmers to compete per main event, Overton said.
The club generally takes swimmers ages 6-18 of all skill levels, but younger swimmers are welcome.
“Anyone who can swim, as long as they can get down the pool unassisted by themselves, then they can be on the team,” Overton said.
Those young swimmers are the core of the club’s annual success, and the future looks bright.
“We have a great crop of 10-and-under swimmers, and as they get older we’re only going to get better, so the future of our team is looking very strong,” she said.
More than 70 Seven Oaks Swimmers were in the 6-and-under age range this year.
By welcoming all swimmers and creating a fun, relaxed environment, the Marlins build a love for the sport.
Once participants love swimming, they want to swim more often and strive to get better.
“If they love it, they decide to swim year-round, and when they come back to see us in the summer, they’re rock stars,” Overton said. “The key to summer league swimming is providing the children the opportunity to love swimming.”
The Seven Oaks Swim Club starts its summer registration in mid-May and competes through late July.