There must be something in the water at Avalon Pool. In the last 27 years Avalon Swim Team has pulled out a victory at the City Swim Championship a total of 13 times. The diving team, coached by Amber Knoblauch and Sarah White, won their 19th Diving Championship on Sunday, July 27th with Joe Laughlin winning the Boys 9 and 10-year old 1-meter competition.
Last Sunday, August 3 rd, when the final results were in, Avalon narrowly edged out Pocahontas Swim Team with a score of 2,510 points to 2,412.5 points, taking home their 4th consecutive win. Arlington Park finished 3 rd with 1,358 points. Blake Johnson, Austin Steenman, Andrew Hoffman, Ryan Dafforn, Emily Keefer, Meghan Keefer, and Erica Smith were all individual event winners.
The entire meet was close with Avalon and Pocahontas taking turns holding onto the lead. Heading into the last event, the Freestyle Relays, Avalon trailed Pocahontas by 28 points. “We knew they could pull it out in the end. All the kids worked really hard all season. They have the talent and the spirit which proved to be all they needed,” says Avalon Coach Ashleigh Brown.
Brown and Head Coach, Tanya Bunsold, were full of spirit, donning boxing gloves and black lines under their eyes. To go along with the team’s theme this year, Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter,” the 15 and over Girls age group also dressed like fighters. “It’s tradition. It’s our job to help get everyone pumped up,” says 18 year-old swimmer Andrea Doepner.
To describe the team as “pumped up” is a bit of an understatement. Every year, Avalon parades into South Side High School’s parking lot in trolleys loaded with kids screaming and cheering, followed by a train of parents honking the horns of their minivans. To this team, it’s not all about winning, that’s just an added bonus. It is about painting your nails blue and green, cheering until your voice gives out, and being with friends.
Avalon is well known in the swimming community for their good sportsmanship, high spirits, and their ability to swim like champions. Certainly, that will not be changing anytime soon.
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