The Columbia Hurricanes youth swim team captured its second straight Kaskaskia Conference regular season championship on Saturday, improving to 7-0 this summer in the process.
“(We’re) very excited and proud of the kids,” Hurricanes head coach Bart Jones said. “(There were some) great swims and lots of personal bests in the last half of the season.”
Jones said his team has as many first-year swimmers as experienced swimmers this summer, which is the perfect mix.
“I think that is our greatest asset,” he said. “That and our numbers in the young age groups.”
He said the ages 9-10 girls have been great, led by Sabrina Leingang.
“She’s a great athlete, competitive and a great learner,” Jones said.
Jones also pointed to the efforts of Alex Blum in ages 13-14 boys.
“He was an original member of the team when we re-started four years ago,” Jones said. “He’s come a very long way. Hard worker, great teammate, positive kid.”
In ages 13-14 girls, both Jaycee Cotton and Emily Buss have stood out, Jones said.
“They push each other but are just all-around good kids (who are) smart and responsive to coaching,” the coach said.
Jones added that his team has 6-year-olds competing with swimmers in the ages 7-8 group every day in practice.
“I love the position we are in, not only for finals but for the future,” Jones said. “This is great for Columbia and for our pool.”
The Hurricanes will compete in the Kaskaskia Conference finals this Saturday.