For the last 11 years, most Saturdays in the summer have meant one thing in the Chalmers household —swim meets. For more than a decade, Kayla and Cory Chalmers have watched their children swim for the South Austin Area Barracudas, a recreational swim team based in the Villages of Shady Hollow.
“What is really unique is that all of our kids have been part of the team all at the same time,” said Kayla. “When my husband and I are at the meets, we can watch all of our children compete at once. Instead of traveling to different parts of town to see each kid play a different sport, we get to see them swim together on the same team. Everybody is together as a family.”
The Barracudas and seven other neighborhood teams make up the Capital City Summer League, a recreational swim league with eight teams from South Austin and Buda. Swimmers ages 4 to 18 years compete on each team. The league started in 2005 and is now home to nearly 2,000 swimmers.
“It’s all about fun,” said Katie Dinwiddie, President of the Circle C Seals. “Sure, there’s competition, but the focus is on learning strokes, sportsmanship, and learning how to be a good teammate.”
Dinwiddie has three daughters who swim for the Seals and is the team’s league representative this year.
“My girls fell in love with the sport at six years old. They have learned so many life lessons, like working hard to achieve a goal, how to handle winning and losing, dedication, and sportsmanship. They have also made lifelong friendships,” said Dinwiddie.
The league is run by parent volunteers. Coaches are the only people being paid. Practices begin at the beginning of May and meets begin two weeks later. The season culminates with a champs meet where all teams come together and compete against each other. This year’s champs meet will take place at Texas A&M University in College Station.
“We like to say the meets are organized chaos,” said Chalmers. “But they are a lot of fun. Volunteers start setting up the night before. When the meet gets going there’s music and cheers. Sometimes you’ll see the kids dancing at the starting line.”
Chalmers has also seen some league swimmers come full circle.
“One of my daughters started swimming when she was five years old,” said Chalmers. “Now she’s 16 and going on her third year as a junior coach for the team. For many kids, they look forward to coming back and giving back to the program.”
For more information on the Capital City Summer league visit www.capitalcitysummerleague.com