Summer is known for sleeping in and lazy mornings.
But at 8 a.m. on any given weekday, you’ll find a group of hard-working kids already up and in the pool.
In the summer, these kids become Gators, competing for the Devon Crest swim team in Dauphin County.
“This is the absolute best,” Coach Jim Mercurio said. “You couldn’t ask for a better way to spend your summer.”
The team boasts 15 swimmers, ages five to 18. The skill ranges from beginners to state medalists, all who form a summer family of sorts.
Mercurio said the social aspect of swimming is, hands down, the most important.
“To get them out and interacting with their peers…to get them to experience what a team is all about,” Mercurio said.
“Summer swim is just like one big family reunion every year,” 17-year-old Liza Szobocsan said. “We’re all from different schools, but we’re so close in the summer. We see each other every day.”
Daniel Logan can attest to that. He started swimming for Devon Crest at age 10. Now 10 years later, he’s still there coaching.
“To be completely honest, I think swimming gave me the entire world,” Logan said. “I’ve been so blessed to have the people I’ve interacted with. I’ve met so many great friends. Most of my great friends today are kids I started swimming with in the summer.”
Logan now swims competitively for Messiah College.
“It’s gotta be fun first and the rest will take care of itself,” Logan said.
Mercurio said as much as he loves to watch these kids build strength and speed in the water, it means more to see them build other skills out of the pool.
“Showing up on time, being accountable…not just to yourself, but to your teammates, something bigger than yourself,” Mercurio said. “That’s really what it’s all about and that’s what it’s teaching them; to get up, to work for a goal, for a dream.”
The summer swim season kicks off Memorial Day weekend and will run through late July.
For more information about the Devon Crest swim team, click here.