Retriever Aquatic Club comes to WMC's pool Swim club to begin practice this week

September 13, 1992|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- The Retriever Aquatic Club, based at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, is branching out to Carroll County this fall.

The club is a member of United States Swimming, the national governing body of amateur swimming that deals with Olympic Trials and other major U.S. swim events. It's entering its seventh season at UMBC.

The Carroll branch will begin practice this week at Western Maryland College after having its first organizational meeting on Tuesday.

"We had a pretty good turnout," said Sid Burkot, coach of the program at UMBC.

"It reminded me a lot of our first meeting at UMBC. The parents were very enthusiastic, with a lot of questions."

The aim is to provide a high-quality program in Carroll for the serious swimmer. The age groups will start at 5 and go all the way up to 18. Burkot also noted many college swimmers train with the UMBC club during the summer.

"The interest level is definitely here and as kids improve, they want more," said Kim Easterday, WMC women's swim coach, who will be director of the Carroll branch.

"Carroll swimmers will have a great opportunity to increase their level of swimming that hasn't been here before. Swimming is a demanding sport and to have to travel an hour, practice for two more and travel another hour is asking a lot. This will free up a lot of time."

Craig Dewing, a Westminster resident who swam under Burkot in the UMBC club, will coach the Carroll branch with the help of Easterday and staff members from the senior branch.

The Carroll branch will compete in a number of U.S.-sanctioned swim meets -- dual and invitational -- throughout the year against different teams all over the East Coast.

Easterday is hoping to get 30 to 40 swimmers in the program for the first year with a mixture of ages -- about the same number the original program started with.

"We had 28 athletes our first year and once we got things rolling, the program really took off. We now have 120 kids at UMBC," Burkot said. "We're pretty much maxed out space-wise at UMBC."

Candie Johnson, a senior at Westminster High, is one of the more prominent swimmers at the Retriever Aquatic Club. She was the first Retriever member to qualify for the Olympic Trials which took place last spring.

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