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Barracudas Bulk Up Numbers For Swim Season
There wasn't the noise, excitement and splash of bodies plunging into water as in a swim competition. The Friday evening practice for the Riverbank swim team, in fact, was more leisurely but productive. Their blue kick boards laid aside, the youngsters were now swimming seemingly endless laps of backstroke alternating to butterfly to breast stroke to freestyle and back again, while watching the clock all the time.

Having won all their meets last season, the Riverbank Barracudas swim team has doubled their numbers for this year and now total 53 on the roster of swimmers.

Coaches Tristin Long and Ashleigh Gresham had just dismissed the youngest swimmers ranging from six to 10 year-olds so the spectators' chairs were clearing rapidly of waiting parents. The two young women were now instructing a group of 11-year-olds and older, up to 18-year-olds.

Riverbank's first meet is scheduled for Friday, June 26 at the Escalon pool, although at the moment the Escalon swimmers are having difficulty finding a coach for their team and many are joining the Riverbank group, said Long.

Subsequent meets will be on July 10 at Delhi, July 17 at Patterson and July 24 at Escalon. The championships are set for July 31 at Patterson. All meets will start at 5 p.m.

Practices for the Barracudas are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The pool is heated and the pullover cover conserves the heat at night so it's comfortable even for the swimmers to practice on an overcast day like this past Friday.

Gresham is new to coaching but she knows the different strokes, the correct techniques and has the ability to teach them to the youngsters, an essential part of swim coaching, said Long.