Mitchell Aquatic Club ready for home meetIt’s the Fourth of July weekend, and that only means one thing for the Mitchell Aquatic Club: a home swim meet. The MAC will host its annual swim meet today through Sunday at the Mitchell Aquatic Center. The weekend meet will be the first time this summer that almost the entire team will be competing at a meet together. “During our spring season we were working with things on the indoor pool and our access was a little limited, so we kind of held off on the indoor meets,” MAC head coach Chuck Baechler said. “We’re really kind of just getting into our meet schedule.”
By: Leah Rado, The Daily Republic
It’s the Fourth of July weekend, and that only means one thing for the Mitchell Aquatic Club: a home swim meet.
The MAC will host its annual swim meet today through Sunday at the Mitchell Aquatic Center. The weekend meet will be the first time this summer that almost the entire team will be competing at a meet together.
“During our spring season we were working with things on the indoor pool and our access was a little limited, so we kind of held off on the indoor meets,” MAC head coach Chuck Baechler said. “We’re really kind of just getting into our meet schedule.”
Baechler added that there have been small groups of swimmers that have competed at meets in Huron and Minnesota, but most of the 65-member club will compete together during the three-day home meet.
In previous years, the MAC’s home meet has been one of the state’s biggest meets of the summer, but this year’s meet is a little smaller. Thirteen teams and 223 athletes will compete over the course of the weekend, which is down from past years. Baechler said the fact that the Fourth of July is actually on Saturday this year might have something to do with the smaller number of participants.
“Our numbers are down just a little bit because I think a lot of families around the state are home doing family stuff,” he said. “But overall it’s going to be a nice-sized meet and it’s going to be a great meet for our kids.”
There will be six different sessions at the three-day meet. The first begins at 11:45 a.m. today with the 1,500-meter swim. The second session starts at 3:30 p.m. today. Sessions start at 8:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:45 a.m. and noon Sunday.
Showers and thunderstorms are forecasted for today and the forecast calls for isolated thunderstorms Sunday, but Baechler said that unless the storm lingers over Mitchell for several days, he thinks the meet should go off fairly seamlessly.
“We’ve got our schedule of events set up so we could take a two-hour break,” he said. “We are equipped with lights. It’s really, really nice here in the evening. We could swim until 8 to 10:30 (tonight) if the thunderstorms came up and it would be fine.
“Our facility gives us the flexibility to plan around the weather to some degree.”
Since this will be the first long-course meet for some of the MAC’s newest members, Baechler said he is looking at it as training and practice for the rest of the summer long-course season.
“What we’re working on right now is our newer swimmers,” he said. “Swimming in the 50-meter pool, you take that wall away in the middle they have at the indoor pool. It’s a big jump in development for newer swimmers.”
For the older, more experienced swimmers, this weekend’s meet is another chance to start getting their times down for bigger meets or for college recruiters. Baechler said the team’s three seniors — Andee Budahl, Josh Davis and Mitch Baye — are being “heavily recruited” by colleges and, along with the juniors and other, more experienced high schoolers, will use summer meets to improve their times for winter meets, which is what most schools use to recruit swimmers.
“We’re using this for training going into the short-course season,” Baechler said. “Most kids will be recruited for their winter times, so we’re using this as just kind of extra training.”
Davis and Baye are training in Florida right now and will not be swimming at the home meet this weekend. Baechler said some of the older swimmers have been going elsewhere to train because with the middle school pool in limbo right now, using the outdoor pool is not always an option.
“The city’s been great with the pool still being up in the air,” he said. “They’ve agreed to keep this open for a couple more weeks, which gives me flexibility. We’re trying to supplement what we can do because of our pool situation. We’re trying to fill in the blanks for (older swimmers) so they have as much flexibility as possible when recruiting comes around.”
Pool situation and recruiting aside, Baechler said his team is excited to host one of its only home meets of the year.
“The kids are excited; our facility is so nice,” he said. “The families are so supportive. It’s a good way to get going.”
Though the MAC will have the 50-meter swim lanes for the weekend, the zero-depth wading pool and water slides will remain open to the public throughout the meet, Mitchell Recreation Director Billie Kelly said Thursday in a press release. Entry for adults and youth is $4 per day. The 50-meter portion of the pool will be open to the public at approximately 5:30 p.m. Sunday.