SWAT teaches essential swimming skills
SWAT, also known as Sanibel Water Attack Team is the island’s only competitive swim team. The swim team was established in 1974 by fathers on the island who wanted their children to have something to do during the summer. Practice previously took place at the Casa Ybel pool before the first recreation center was built in the ’80s.
SWAT is aimed for kids ages 5 to 18. Coach Curtis McIntyre and Assistant Coach Jodi Lucker teach stroke techniques and endurance.
For the last five years, SWAT has been a year-round swim team. McIntyre said that the number of students joining are on the rise. Currently, 42 students are on the team.
“Our last swim meet we had a record number of swimmers attend it. We had 21 swimmers attend our last winter invitational at Florida Gulf Coast University,” he said. “We a sister team of Swim Florida which is a county-wide team. We’ve been in the top two or three every meet we’ve been to.”
SWAT’s next swim meet will take place June 17 and 18 at Florida Gulf Coast University. McIntyre said that they compete with different teams from all over the state.
“Usually when we go to a meet, there’s usually anywhere from 12 to 20 teams there,” he said.
SWAT practices Monday through Friday. The Blue Team (K-8th grade) practices from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and the Gold Team (highschoolers) practice from 2:30 to 4 p.m.
Currently, SWAT has four highschoolers swimming for the team.
“This is our biggest high school group we’ve ever had,” McIntyre said.
One of SWAT’s most successful swimmers is Sanibel resident Matt Lucker, who is off to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania this fall on a swimming scholarship. Lucker who is a senior at Fort Myers High School, began swimming with SWAT at age five.
“It’s fun for us as coaches to see the little ones keep pursuing their dreams. Not everyone goes to the Olympics, but his dream was to go to college to swim so he’s very excited,” said Jodi Lucker, SWAT assistant coach and Matt’s mother.
To join SWAT, students must be able to swim the length of the pool and commit to attending four meetings a year – two at Florida Gulf Coast University and two in Sarasota.
For more information, call the Sanibel Recreation Center at (239) 472-0345 or contact Coach Mcintyre at (239) 560-3311.