Blue Fins win big at Winter Haven swim meet

 PHOTO PROVIDED    Englewood resident Jack Oliver won third place overall in the boys 6 and under division at the Winter Haven Fall Opener swim meet Sept. 20-22 for the Charlotte County Blue Fins swim team.

PHOTO PROVIDED
Englewood resident Jack Oliver won third place overall in the boys 6 and under division at the Winter Haven Fall Opener swim meet Sept. 20-22 for the Charlotte County Blue Fins swim team.

Mary Jurkowski has reason to be proud of her daughter, Gracelee Lukas. She won first place in the girls 8 and under division at the Winter Haven Fall Opener swim meet, for the Charlotte County Swimming Blue Fins.

Jurkowski is a board member and secretary of Englewood Aquatics, which is part of the Fins.

“We had nine swimmers compete,” Jurkowski said. “We had 35 personal best times. We had 12-year-old Gage Denson, and he had set six personal best times. He dropped 11 seconds on his 200 (meter) freestyle.”

Jurkowski said the Englewood swim team trains five days a week for two hours a day at the Oyster Creek Regional Pool.

“The (swimmers) continue to carry personal achievements and have (awards),” she said. “Swimming is such a positive part of the kids’ lives. It’s become a nice family.”

Ryan Oliver’s sons, Jack and Joey, participate on the swim team. Jack won third place in the boys 6 and under category at the meet.

“(My sons) understand it’s not necessarily about competition, it’s about improving themselves and their times,” Ryan said. “They still like winning trophies and ribbons. This is the first time we’ve seen a trophy for this.”

He said his sons also enjoy playing baseball and basketball.

“Swimming will be more seasonal for them,” he said. “Swimming helps them with discipline. I see them striving to do better. It’s a very good discipline sport, and it’s good exercise.”

Kristin May supported the Blue Fins as a mother before becoming an assistant coach a month ago.

“Every day at practice, we try to get their stroke down and their technique,” May said. “Every day is a little triumph, and they turn bigger ones.”

May said swimming is different from any other sport because it’s both an individual and a team sport.

“It’s about getting a better time, and they’re competing against themselves,” May said.

May used to swim competitively in high school, and she remembered what it meant to her.

“I miss the practice,” she said. “You can clear your head and think about your stroke. It’s kind of … euphoric, being one with the water. I love swimming, whether … it’s recreationally or competitive.” For more information, visit http://www.teamunify.com  .

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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