The Harford Swim League (HSL) capped off its 8-week season with their Championship Meet on July 21-22. The meet format included over 1,000 swimmers competing at three pools – Fountain Green Swim Club, Aberdeen Swim Center and Magnolia Middle School over the weekend. The 10 and under swimmers competed first on Saturday at Fountain Green. The 11-18 YO swimmers followed Saturday afternoon at Aberdeen and the Top 18 swimmers in each age group competed Sunday at Magnolia.
Each year the League (comprised on 13 community pools, rec councils and private swim clubs) chooses a theme. This year it was “Endless Swim Meet” after the surf movie and song by the Beach Boys “Endless Summer”. This creates a festival-like atmosphere with food, music and fun wrapping the swim competition. Kids compete in all four strokes, Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly, the combined elements – Individual Medley and several Relay variations. Awards are given for the top 18 finishers in each session.
Chris Bley, a former swim in the league, coach of the Bel Air Athletic Club team and Executive Member of the HSL Board shared his thoughts about the uniqueness of this event, “the HSL Champs are unlike any other sport championships. Whether you are the best swimmer or a developing one, you have a chance to compete and possibly finish in the top 36 places earning a medal in each of the events. This two-day event was established in the early 1980s to recognize the kids and the sport and the league has been around for just about 50 years.
And it has been the developing ground for some very special competitors. The Phelps family started their swimming careers at the North Harford Swim Club in the summers in the HSL. First, with older sisters Whitney and Hillary who went on to become accomplished college and national swimmers. Then, it was Michael’s time. Other top ranked swimmers followed and most recently Chase Kalisz, World and Olympic Gold Medalist. Chase started his swimming career with the Fallston Swim Club together with his brother and sisters.
This year, the Team Champions in each division were as follows based on points scored at Championships:
|Final Combined Team Scores|
|1 FOUNTAIN GREEN SWIM TEAM||3,317|
|2 AQUA CULTURE SWIM TEAM||2,776.5|
|4 ARENA CLUB STARZ||2,368.5|
|5 ROCK SPRING RACERS||2,021|
|6 THE FALLSTON CLUB||1,686.5|
|7 EMMORTON BARRACUDAS||1,347.5|
|1 MARYLAND GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB||1,705.5|
|2 JOPPATOWNE TIGERSHARKS||1,341.5|
|3 ABERDEEN PENGUINS||1,282|
|4 NORTH HARFORD NEPTUNES||1,219|
|5 VALLEYBROOK GATORS||884.5|
|6 BELCAMP PIRAHNAS||346|
Complete results of the Championship Meet are available on the HSL website.