The Hillsboro swim team has become a big deal in summer. It may have replaced softball and baseball as the sport with the most participation.
Summer basketball camps, MAYB basketball and other activities have likely resulted in a decline of baseball and softball participation. I assume you could play summer ball and still be on the swim team though, since the meets are held on Saturdays in June and early July.
When I read the story that the Hillsboro swim team won its fourth Mid-Kansas League championship, I took notice. Are you kidding me? That kind of success doesn’t just happen by accident.
There were nine teams competing for the title this summer, with more than 500 swimmers participating and nearly 2,000 people in attendance at this year’s meet in Hillsboro.
Hillsboro head swim coach Stephanie Moss is doing an amazing job. One parent told me she appreciates how encouraging Moss is to the kids, acknowledging that not all coaches are that way.
Just to recap the league meet, Hillsboro tallied 1,077 points through 80 events. Hesston was next with 866½ points. The other teams behind Hillsboro in order of finish were Lindsborg, Peabody, Abilene, Herington, Solomon, Marion and Council Grove.
Moss said, “This is not an easy accomplishment, given the high quality of swimmers throughout the league.”
I don’t know of another team sport that covers such a wide age range of participants. The closest would be high school track and field, but that pales in comparison.
The Hillsboro swim team involved youth from girls and boys 8 and under to girls and boys 15-18 years old. There were 85 total swimmers, with 43 girls and 42 boys.
In order to win a swim team championship, you’d better have a large number of boys and girls in all age groups. Oh yeah, and one more minor detail: it helps if they are good swimmers.
When I grew up, there were no swim teams. We spent a lot of time in the pool racing and playing, but it was not a sport. It was purely recreation. I think it’s great that this sport has blossomed. It’s a great physical fitness activity and probably better than most sports at boosting cardiovascular fitness with low injury risk.
Moss also said she and her assistant coach, Kalen Moss, “feel so blessed to be able to do this each summer and are so fortunate to be able to work with an amazing group of young people and their families.”
She also made it a point to thank anyone who has done anything to help the Hillsboro swim team, citing the Hillsboro Lions Club for offering free meals throughout the day for the volunteers. She also acknowledged the support of the Hillsboro Family Aquatic Center and Hillsboro Recreation Commission.
Just reading about the event and hearing about the enthusiasm of these kids got me inspired. I was wondering if Moss would start a swim team for seniors. Well, maybe not, but why not? One thing is for sure. A lot of those kids could swim circles around you and me.
Moss is right to thank the kids and parents, but to be fair, the kids, parents and community should also be thanking Moss for leading the program.
It couldn’t be in better hands and, championships or not, we’re all better for it.
Hillsboro resident Joe Kleinsasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. You can reached him at Joe.Kleinsasser@wichita.edu.