All in the family: Siblings swim for Quincy
Atalee 14, Ethan 11 and Isaic Gregg, 6, have plenty in common.
Not only are they siblings, not only do they swim for Quincy’s Swim Team, but each and every one of them hated swimming with a passion when they started.
They all started around the same age, around the early years of grade school. Mom Whitney gladly takes the credit for nudging them toward the pool.
“My mom kind of made me,” Isaic says. Atalee agrees, saying that it’s become a tradition to go into the pool kicking and screaming that first year, only to dig the sport on year two.
“The first year, I was willing to try it and I didn’t like it. The second year, she made me do it, and I didn’t like it,” Atalee says. “The third year, I started winning, and I liked it.”
On the last swim meet prior to this edition, Quincy defeated the Wenatchee Racquet and Athletic Club by a quality score of 5.589 to 4.713. Thirty-nine swimmers suited up for Quincy, 51 for the WRAC.
And sure enough Atalee took first place in all her individual events. the 50-meter freestyle, the 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter individual medley.
She wasn’t alone.
Timothy Bensch, (50M butterfly, 100M individual medley, 50M breaststroke,)Taggart Hodges (50M backstroke and freestyle, 100M freestyle), Brynn Nieuwenhuis (50M butterfly, 100M Medley, 50 breaststroke) and Gates Petersen (100M individual medley, 100M freestyle and 50M freestyle,) also came up with all sevens for the Quincy team. Ten relay events also finished with Quincy on top.
Like Atalee, Ethan also tells a similar tale of hating swimming at first. The first year, he barely got in the water because “the water was cold.”
Last week, against the WRAC, Ethan finished first twice (100M medley and freestyle) and third once (breaststroke.) Quinn Escure (50M
breaststroke, freestyle and the
backstroke) and 8-year-old Chloe Medina (25M freestyle, 50M freestyle and 25M backstroke,) also finished first in two of their three individual events for Quincy.
Isaic finished fifth in the backstroke.
Waiting right behind Isaic is 20-month-old Oliver, obviously too young to swim competitively, but not too young to have his older siblings dispense advice on what’s coming his way.
Namely, a childhood of competition, filled with tough, wet battles, and not just in the pool.
“We all compete on who gets to shower first,” Atalee says. “I always win.”
The one who gets to shower last, usually Ethan or Isaic, gets the unwelcome task of having to do it with cold water.
And may the gods help Oliver if he ever wants a perk with his shower. Like, for instance, a towel.
“We rarely have towels,” Atalee said. “We always have to be constantly washing the towels.”
Atalee says she gets two towels, while the siblings say they get one. Older-sibling privilege? Kinda. It has more to do with longer hair versus shorter hair.
The swimming is unavoidable for young Oliver, towel or no towel. Living near the shores of lakes, creeks and rivers, it’s a must-have skill, Whitney says.
It doesn’t hurt, she adds, that the swim-team coaches “are really awesome.”
Swimming has brought about positive changes in the children, Whitney said. It has taught them sportsmanship and teamwork.
It has also brought on the familiar and almost ubiquitous scent of chlorine to their home’s laundry room.
“Chlorine and dirt,” says Whitney with a chuckle. “We live on a farm.”
The season lasts for about five to six meets. Young ones that they still are, they don’t have much trouble staying in shape during the off-season.
Sometimes they struggle to focus a little while on the lane, especially if an “earworm” gets in, and a tune starts playing in their heads. But they manage.
Swimming gets competitive, Atalee says. Not like football, but still, the swimmers want to win, and bad.
The main rival, Atalee said, is and should be the one in the mirror.
“Don’t worry about your competitors and how behind you are or how ahead you are,” she said. “Just keep your time and try to beat it.”
Also important, Ethan said, is to find a way to have fun. Not just in the pool, but all the time.
An incoming freshman, Atalee says she will try other sports, but will remain a swimmer, occupational hazards aside. Not leg cramps or dehydration but boredom.
It’s not the swimming that’s boring, it’s the swimming pools.
Being competitive swimmers, the three siblings find most regular pools as exciting as one of those cold showers.
“When you’re used to just swimming laps, you don’t know what to do with yourself” in a regular pool, Atalee says. “You just stand there and dog-paddle.”
Next home meet for the Quincy team is July 21 against Cashmere. Meet starts at 6 p.m.
Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org