First Swim Meet of the Season Held on June 30
On a beautiful Saturday morning, the Saffin Pond Pioneers hosted the Lake Shawnee Tribe to kick off the first swim meet of the season in the North Jersey Regional Lake League. Past meets between the teams have always been tightly contested, and June 30 was no different.
From the horn, the 15-18 age group boys and girls were locked into a push-and-pull battle and could not gain separation from one another on the score sheet. These meets tend to be more fun, loud, and competitive because the older swimmers compete together on the Jefferson Township High School swim team, but are now put up against one another to see who comes out on top.
Since the meet was so closely contested among the older swimmers, it was up to the younger kids to create the separation. The Tribe did just that, with Alex Johnson in the 9-10 age group chipping in a huge part. His three first-place ribbons created and kept the lead the Tribe was trying to build.
In addition to the team’s older and more experienced swimmers, Lake Shawnee gained a plethora of new members who made a huge impact on the meet. Jamie Breiten, head coach of the Tribe, told The Jefferson Chronicle, “I was especially proud of all the new swimmers who competed for the first time ever today and did such a great job.”
In swimming, there is an abundance of nerves. Competitors know that when they are racing, everyone in the crowd is watching and cheering. The Shawnee kids overcame their nerves and delivered a great meet. “As a first-time coach, I felt inspired by all the swimmers. It was so awesome to see kids doubting themselves in practice, then giving it their all in a meet, with their whole team cheering them on,” assistant coach Jodi Bunda told The Chronicle.
A big part of a swim meet is the sportsmanship side of it, and during the first meet, both teams displayed remarkable sportsmanship. The older competitors led by example for the younger ones to follow. “I felt both teams showed great sportsmanship today, which is what it’s all about,” said Breiten.
This meet was a complete team effort from both groups. The older swimmers cheered on the younger, taught them techniques, and helped them to not miss their race. “I’m proud of all our veteran swimmers who did such an amazing job coaching and encouraging the new and younger swimmers,” Breiten said.
The Lake Shawnee Tribe ended up taking the win over the Pioneers 214-191 in a tremendous all-around experience. “Today’s meet was a close one, and it took the entire team to get the win today,” said Breiten. “It was a great team effort! Hats off to Saffin for a fun and close meet.”