Name: Bradley Peters
Job description: Howard County YMCA aquatics director and coach of its swim team, the Manta Rays, a full-time job for the past three years; has been at Y for five years. Swim team, an eight-month "winter" program, has 127 swimmers from 5 to 18. Club began in 1978, and later founded Central Maryland Swim League, which has grown to 16 teams competing in team-oriented meets from September to April and covers much of Maryland. Club, which dropped from 220 swimmers in the early 1990s to 44 in middle of the decade, has been rebuilding.
Personal information: Raised in Boulder, Colo. Came here on swimming scholarship to UMBC in mid-1990s; sociology major; now grad student in pre-law at Loyola College. In high school, was third in 200-meter individual medley, third in 100 butterfly and fifth in 400 IM in YMCA national competition. "I was the only swimmer from my family. Everyone else played soccer." Younger brother will attend Loyola on soccer scholarship; sister attends University of Baltimore. Parents moved to Baltimore area when he started at UMBC.
Best thing about youth organization position: "The kids. They're literally a family to me. Everything they do - I just love the kids. ... One advantage to the Y having a large team is that you have a family - you have 10 teammates to lean on if you have a bad day. It's not only an individual sport."
Biggest challenge for group: "Diversity, in the sense of blending swimmers who want to compete individually with those who don't want to have the stress of training and competing as an individual - the pressure and emphasis on individual times. But this is a very competitive YMCA program."