Meghan Francone teaches Craig Sea Sharks members the correct stroke techniques at the shallow end of the Moffat County High School pool. The Sea Sharks team, which is still accepting applicants, will begin practicing Tuesday at the Craig Swimming Complex and will swim in the first competition of the season Friday and Saturday in Rangely.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Meghan Francone teaches Craig Sea Sharks members the correct stroke techniques at the shallow end of the Moffat County High School pool. The Sea Sharks team, which is still accepting applicants, will begin practicing Tuesday at the Craig Swimming Complex and will swim in the first competition of the season Friday and Saturday in Rangely.

Sea Sharks program's 1st meet this weekend in Rangely

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Craig Sea Sharks

• The Craig Sea Sharks are still accepting registration for their summer program for ages 5 to 18. Entry fees range from $130 to $230 for the season. For more information about registration and practice times, call 824-5662.

Schedule

(Meet — Dates)

Rangely — Friday and Saturday

Colorado Mesa University — June 15 to 17

Aspen — June 22 to 24

Craig — July 6 to 8

Western Slope League — July 20 to 22

State — July 27 to 29

Summer Club (Gunnison) — Aug. 3 to 5

Although the Moffat County High School swimming season is over, the girls and boys varsity swim coaches aren’t getting away from the water anytime soon.

This summer, they’re working to develop talent with swimmers signed on with the Craig Sea Sharks.

The summer swimming program is still accepting registration for the 2012 season. The team heads into competition shortly, and this week is the last opportunity for participants to sign up.

The program is open to boys and girls ages 5 to 18. Registration options include the silver team for $130 or gold team for $230. The silver team practices twice weekly, and the gold team is in the water five days a week.

Though swimmers of all skill levels are accepted, one rule is absolute: Children must be able to swim the length of the pool without stopping, touching the sides or receiving assistance from anyone.

Practices started last week at the MCHS pool, and coaches Meghan Francone, Anita Reynolds and Heather Vallem tested swimmers on their basic ability.

“A lot of them already know what they’re doing and it’s not too hard for them,” Francone said.

Swimmers must learn the proper technique for the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle, but practices have an element of fun, too, with games that use applicable skills and keep the children moving. With about 25 swimmers attending the first practice, Francone said she was hoping to see a few more as sessions continued.

“We always have a few stragglers signing up,” she said.

The team number has since risen to more than 30. Sea Sharks board member Bonnie Hulstine said she hopes to see more children join this week as the practices move to the Craig Swimming Complex on Tuesday.

“We’ve got a few more kids coming in and that should bring us about to where we were last year, which is a good-sized club for this economy,” she said. “We’re anticipating a lot of growth in our younger age groups and we’ve got a lot of good teenagers, too.”

In addition to Craig children, Hulstine hopes to have swimmers from Hayden, Maybell and other surrounding areas join the program.

“We have a couple teenage girls from Baggs, (Wyo.), who’ll be swimming with us,” she said. “They were year-round swimmers in Rawlins, but they moved to Baggs and they wanted something closer to where they lived.”

The Sea Sharks will travel around the region to meets in Grand Junction and Aspen, and the team will host a home event in July. The team’s first competition is Friday and Saturday in Rangely.

“Competitive swimming is really fun for kids because they love racing and it’s good for them to learn more about the sport,” Hulstine said. “Sea Sharks lets them improve a lot in their strokes over the summer, and I think it’s been an excellent thing for families to get involved with and let their kids stay in shape and learn an important life skill.”

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