Through recent years, the St. John Paul II swimmers have created the unique motto which has appeared on t-shirts – “Our family versus your team.”
In sheer numbers, they fall far shy of many of the larger teams they compete against. However, what they may lack in strength they more than make up for with heart.
“It’s like we’re just one big family,” said sophomore captain Sophie Bailey. “We have several swimmers where this is their first time on the team, so it’s nice to be one of the leaders and help the new swimmers.”
Eighth grader Izzy Rudy recalled joining the team two years ago as a nervous and somewhat anxious seventh grader.
“Last year, I competed in a meet for the first time,” she said. “I was really scared and had been dreading doing a meet, but they all gave me encouragement. It really helped me so much.”
The family concept is something that has been integrated over the years by coach Jena Brown, who takes the family thing one step further. Her assistant coach is her mom, Jo-Ann Lacoste.
“The point is that they’re more than just a team. We’re small in numbers, so we do more here than just swim,” she said. “We teach life lessons, leadership and things that are going to help them further in life.”