Middle school swim club making a splash on the Plateau

Middle school students from Blue Ridge Early College and Highlands School formed a first-of-its-kind swim club and competed on Sept. 27 at Buncombe County Schools Aquatic Center against swimmers from Asheville, Cane Creek, Franklin, Rabun Gap, Rugby, and Valley Springs middle schools.

Catching a quick breath at the middle school swim meet on Sept. 27.

At the helm of this inaugural club is Coach Steve Hott who said swimming fills an important need on the Plateau.

“I think that most major sports in America are variations on the theme of ‘How fast can you run,’” said Hott. “It’s how fast can you run while bouncing a ball, how fast can you run and kick a ball, how fast can you run and catch a ball, how fast can you run after you’ve hit a ball with a stick, or simply how fast can you run. Not all good or even great athletes run very fast. Some of the minor sports in America offer the chance for an athlete to excel who doesn’t run as fast as some others. These include cycling, wrestling, gymnastics, weightlifting, equestrian sports, and wait for it, swimming. These sports offer the great life lessons that can be taught in a unique way in athletics to some people who otherwise have not experienced success in athletics.  We fill a need.” 

Swimmers from BREC and Highlands School competed on Sept. 27 against several other middle schools in the region.

At the recent meet, Tate Wilson scored 12 points and placed 6th in the 50-yard freestyle and 10th in the 50-yard breaststroke. Wilson said her favorite event was the 50-yard breaststroke and feels awesome to be part of the first MS swim team at Highlands School.

“I liked the meet,” she said. “We did pretty good. We probably could have done better.” 

Swimmers cheer on their teammates at a recent meet at Buncombe County Schools Aquatic Center.

Vivian Kennedy scored 5 points for the Highlanders. She placed 8th in the 100-yard freestyle and 24th in the 50-yard breaststroke. 

Kennedy said her favorite event was the 50-yard breaststroke and enjoyed the meet. 

“I think we did good,” she said. “It was three girls, and we cheered each other on and called each other ‘Sister Smurfs.’” 

Vivian Kennedy rocking the freestyle like a boss.

Kennedy added that she likes being part of the swim team at Highlands because she gets to be with her friends. 

Lillian Rutter placed 27th in the 50-yard freestyle and 23rd in the 50-yard backstroke. Rutter said her favorite event was the 50 free. 

“It was good, I feel like we did good,” said Rutter. 

Peyton Kaylor scored 26 points for the Bobcats. He placed 2nd in the 100-yard freestyle and 2nd in the 50-yard freestyle.

Peyton’s favorite event was the 100-yard freestyle. 

“It is awesome to work with my coach to start a swim club at Blue Ridge,” said Kaylor. “It is awesome to be able to set school records in my events.” 

Zander Coward placed 17th in the 50-yard freestyle and 17th in the 50-yard backstroke. He said his favorite event was the 50-yard freestyle. 

Friday was Coward’s first swim meet and he said it’s great being part of the first middle school swim club at BREC.

“It was cool because there were a lot of people there,” he said.  “It is great because I get to be the first of many.”

The final meet for these middle school swimmers Oct. 8 at the Buncombe County Schools Aquatics Center, stay tuned for those results.

Article and photos by Kristy McCall
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