Piranhas find summer fun in Taneytown pool NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown



Almost every summer weekday morning, for the past three years, the Taneytown Community Swimming Pool has been filled with Piranhas.

They're not dangerous; they're just having fun. These Piranhas are a swim team comprised of children from Northwest Carroll County and Hanover, Pa. The group of 6- to 18-year-olds competes against other swim teams in the county and state.

This weekend, the Piranhas will host a team from Crofton Country Club from 9 a.m. to noon at the community pool in Taneytown Memorial Park.

The Piranhas were formed in 1990. This year there are 53 participants.

Head coach Catherine Peiffer and assistant coach Deborah Hedges have volunteered to teach the swimmers the types of precise, flowing strokes necessary to win competitions. The team members train hard; they swim at least 64 laps during practices. They practice butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle swimming, and how to make turns.

The older teens also are learning competitive diving.

Two weeks ago, the Piranhas celebrated a 283-174 victory over the Northeast YMCA team from Baltimore County. Last weekend, they beat Crofton Village 245-214.

Until the end of last year, their scores were between 80 and 100 points per meet, said Mrs. Peiffer. She said the kids have come a long way, and they have a lot to be proud of. They are doing so well that some team members will go to the Straehle Invitational meet July 28 at the Padonia Swim Club in Timonium.

For the Piranhas, the word "team" includes parental involvement. A family must purchase a pool membership if the child is to participate in team functions.

Parents also must become involved with the team in some

capacity. They can help during training, or be a timer or table worker who tallies scores at the competitions. This family involvement is a requirement of the Central Maryland Swim League, in which the Piranhas participate.

Buying swimsuits, paying dues, paying insurance costs, traveling expenses, the pool memberships and various miscellaneous costs make being on a swim team can be an expensive proposition. But Mrs. Peiffer said she is surprised at the number of returning team members.

"Most of them are repeaters, ages 11 to 18," she said. "We did get a lot of new kids this year, but the main core of the team came back.

"We also have a lot of kids that are really excited about swimming. I tell the parents if the kids don't love this, they shouldn't do it. Last year we had kids even give up football for swimming."

Linda Hess, the Taneytown office clerk, said the team was organized by the town in 1990, but was turned over to parents of the Piranha team participants in 1991.

"The parents were doing all the work," she said. "Why shouldn't the parents run the team?"

To help with team expenses, the parents have helped the Piranhas organize fund raisers throughout the year. The team has held a swim-a-thon, a 50-50 raffle and sold baked goods at the Westminster Fall Festival. They also have received generous contributions from businesses and civic groups in the area.

The Piranhas have competed four times so far this year, and have one more meet before the divisional competition. The meets are open to the public.


This will be a busy weekend at the Taneytown Memorial Park, when Taneytown Junior Keys Youth Baseball sponsors a weekend long baseball tournament.

The times of the event are Friday 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m..

Teams from Hampstead, Manchester, Sykesville, Mount Airy, Damascus and Clarksville are expected to attend. Nine teams have signed up, but more are needed.

Each team is allowed one loss throughout the tournament.

The entry fee is $100 per team. The money is used to pay for baseballs, umpires, diamond care, and odds and ends, said Wayne Staley, president of the Taneytown Junior Keys.

Concession stand proceeds will benefit future Little League programs in the community.

The tournament is expected to draw a large crowd. Bleachers will be set up at all diamonds, but Mr. Staley recommends bringing lawn chairs to assure that you have a seat.

Information: 756-2967.

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