Beach Clubs Begin Swim Team Season July 5

June 29, 2018
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Returning champions Surfrider look to push to another championship this summer in the month-long season. Swim meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout July draw large crowds to watch siblings, children and grandchildren compete. Photo by Jay Cook

By Jenna Moldaver | 

SEA BRIGHT – Swimmers from eight area beach clubs will begin competing in the North Shore Club League July 5. The league consists of beach club members from Chapel Beach Club, Ship Ahoy, Sea Bright Beach Club, Monmouth Beach Pavilion, Seashore Day Camp, Monmouth Beach Bath and Tennis Club, Sands Beach Club and Surfrider Beach Club. The teams will compete every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the month.

Dating back to the 1950s, the North Shore League fosters competition between swimmers up to 17 years old. In recent years, Surfrider’s team has dominated the league, remaining undefeated for five consecutive seasons.

The Surfrider swimmers show remarkable commitment to their team and sport. Sherrie Cole, head coach of Surfrider, said the team practices five times a week in addition to their two meets a week.

Cole, who swam on a beach club team as a child and was a swimmer in college, is going into her 18th year as the team’s coach. “I love the kids,” Cole said. “We have a great time and the team’s really fun.”

Parent volunteers play an essential role throughout the season. “They pretty much run everything outside of practice,” Cole said. Parents run and organize meets, order uniforms, plan team events and keep track of signups and schedules. Cole looks forward to another successful season filled with victories, pizza nights and team camaraderie.

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“It’s like a big family,” she said.

One competing team, Sea Bright Beach Club, intentionally works to cultivate this sense of community among swimmers. On the Sea Bright team, members are part of a “Big Brother Big Sister” program in which younger swimmers are paired with older swimmers who serve as their role models. The younger swimmers cheer on their big brother or sister, while the older swimmers help their little brother or sister. The program is in place to generate an additional support network and build friendships across different age groups.

The league, according to its by-laws, is governed by a Board of Representatives that meets a minimum of twice a year, prior to and at the end of each season. While the league has included the same eight clubs for a number of years, membership in the North Shore Club League is open to beach clubs east of the Garden State Parkway from Long Branch to the Monmouth County line. Eligible teams must have a minimum of 35 swimmers.

The meets feature both individual races and relays, including both a medley and free relay. Meets are run by parent volunteers who act as referees, head judges, announcers, scorers, ribbon writers, runners and timers. Each club times their own lanes.

This article first appeared in the June 28 – July 5, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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