Sabrina Howard of Prairie City has returned as head coach of the John Day Swim Team.
“It’s my heart, and where my passion is,” she said.
Howard was head coach of the team in 2016 and 2017, and was assistant coach in 2015.
This year, she is also the Gleason Pool manager, overseeing lifeguards, swim lessons, recreational swimming and all the activities at the pool.
Howard comes from a family of swimmers. Growing up in California, her dad and grandpa were both Olympic trial swimmers.
It’s not just an important life skill, she said.
“It’s a pretty amazing sport,” she said. “When you’re in the water, you’re at one with your team — it’s a family.”
She added, “For being an individual sport, the camaraderie that comes with swimming is like none other. To see the growth over time is an amazing thing to watch.”
The John Day team competed at their first event June 21-23 at the Prineville Invitational Swim Meet.
Besides their Cascade East District teams, Prineville, Burns and Lakeview, the team battled against year-round swim teams, including Redmond, Bend and Klamath Falls.
Medaling at the Prineville Meet were Jack Strong, Syris Workman, Cayden Howard, Chet Workman and Colbie Howard.
First in the district standings for the boys are Strong (13-14 division) for the 100-meter freestyle and 50 freestyle, Andrew Hunt (13-14) for the 100 butterfly and Danner May (8 and under) for the 25 butterfly.
On the girls side, first in the district standings are Sierra May (11-12) for the 100 freestyle and the 50 breaststroke and Morgan Walker (11-12) for the 50 butterfly.
The team competed at the Lakeview Swim Meet on June 28-30, and results will be released when they are available.
There are 41 swimmers on the team, and 21 competed in Prineville — all age 14 and under.
Howard said she hopes to have her older swimmers competing at other events if their summer work schedules will allow for it.
The coach said that in the week after the competition they look at any “DQ” slips (disqualifications) they received so the swimmers know where they went wrong and how to improve.
“We take a negative and turn it into a positive by making it a lesson and teaching tool to better themselves and their swim,” she said.
She said the benefits of joining the swim team include “conditioning, socialization and bettering their life skill of aquatic awareness.”
Gleason Pool will be especially busy Friday-Sunday, July 19-21, for their home meet and Friday-Sunday, July 26-28, for the District Championships.
The event is expected to be a boost to the local economy with travelers staying in the area for the events.
“I would encourage the community to come out and support them,” she said. “The cap is 250 swimmers — that is a lot of families.”
John Day Swim Team schedule
July 12-14: Hi-Desert Swim Meet in Burns
July 19-21: John Day Swim Meet
July 26-28: District Swim Meet