By Jeff Nations
WINCHESTER -- The summer is nearly over, but Tag Grove wants to give area residents one last chance to make a splash before the cooler temperatures set in.
Grove, the head coach of the Winchester Swim Team, has partnered with the Winchester Parks and Recreation Department to host the inaugural Community Swim Meet on Aug. 16 at Jim Barnett Park's outdoor pool in Winchester. The meet is open to swimmers of all abilities ages 10 and up.
"Basically, what we're trying to do is just get anybody who's ever had an interest in swimming a little bit, whether it's summer team swimmers or adult swimmers, triathletes, people who want to do the Master's meets, even people who haven't swam in a meet in 20 years and want to get out and splash around a little bit," Grove said. "It's all short events. The longest event we'll be doing is the (100-meter freestyle), so I think that will be good."
Entry for the meet is $5 per person or $100 per team, with the registration deadline set for Aug. 12. Swimmers are divided into age groups, starting with ages 10-14 on up through age 60 and up, and all events are co-ed races. There are 11 age groups in total. Some on-deck registration will be available from 4:30-5:30 p.m., with warm-ups scheduled to begin at 4:45 p.m. for ages 18 and under, and 5:15 p.m. for ages 19 and up. The meet starts at 6 p.m.
The meet offers the traditional challenges -- 50 and 100 free, 50 butterfly, 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke -- and also features some unique races including the raft relay and the beach ball relay. The 50-meter outdoor pool has eight lanes, and the meet will feature electronic timing.
Grove said interest has been strong among the community's swimmers for the meet, which offers a rare chance for adults to swim in a competitive setting. The meet is open to any interested swimmer, and Grove is hoping to see significant participation from the towns and communities surrounding Winchester as well as the city's residents.
"I'm hoping to get the word out to those people," Grove said. "I've been going to the park and talking to some of the people who swim laps out there. Hopefully, we'll have a decent turnout this year and it will warrant doing something in the future."
Individual awards will be giving to the top eight swimmers in each individual event. The top three relays in each age group will receive ribbons.
"This is for people who want to have fun, who like to swim and enjoy the sport," Grove said. "It's just a fun night at the pool and we're just bringing everybody together."
For more information about the meet or registration, email the Winchester Swim Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Winchester Parks and Recreation Department at 540-662-4946.
Contact staff writer Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com