Enfield Dolphins have taken to the water for summer season
By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Jun. 23, 2011
“All in the family” is one way to describe the Enfield Dolphins swim team. Three of the team’s coaches are related - mother Janet Fitzsimons is the head coach, her daughter Kerri serves as assistant head coach and her daughter Kristen is an assistant coach.
Swimmers for the Dolphins range in age from 5 to 18, but Kerri said they often take some of the older students on as assistant coaches to continue that family feel. Many of the current assistant coaches have been with the team since they were little.
The summer season started with a stroke clinic in April, and practice officially began on May 16. The first junior division meet is scheduled for June 27, with the first senior division meet the following week. Approximately 65 kids are swimming for the Dolphins this summer.
Kerri said practices are held four times a week, and swimmers must attend two. They practice based on ability and age, and participate in meets based on age. The junior division is for ages 12 and under; the senior one for ages 13 to 18.
Though the youngest team members often join at age 5, Kerri said they have taken 4-year-olds before. “We suggest people start early,” Kerri said. “As soon as they can swim a lap, we’ll take them.”
By starting in the water early, swimmers begin learning each stroke while also gaining strength and building endurance. The younger a swimmer starts, the easier the strokes are to learn.
“We have a lot of new swimmers this year,” Janet said. “They’re working really hard and have improved a lot since the first practice. The first meet will be really fun because many don’t know what to expect.”
Kerri stressed that fun aspect - swimmers learn a lot, but have fun while doing it. Being on such a close-knit team adds to the enjoyment.
“We feel like family when we come to practice,” said Susan Furlong, president of the parents’ association. “They really have become accomplished swimmers.”
In addition to competing in the Central Connecticut Swim League (summer and winter seasons), the Dolphins have a U.S. Swimming component for swimmers who want to compete more. Currently, 12 kids are competing in U.S.S. meets.
Though the first league meets are around the corner, Kerri said new swimmers can still join the team. Interested swimmers or parents can contact her by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janet Fitzsimons - Head Coach
Kerri Fitzsimons - Asst. Head Coach
Janet began swimming competitively at age 6 or 7 and swam for Southern Connecticut State University. She has been with the Dolphins for 15 years. Kerri started swimming for the Dolphins at age 7 and has been coaching for 7 years.
Thoughts on the season: “We’re excited going into our first meet,” Kerri said. “They’ve been working very hard.”