The team competed at district competition and came in fourth, with one swimmer qualifying for the state tournament in Opelika this weekend.
Zoe Machen qualified in the 50-meter breaststroke with a time of 41.51.
Head coach Lisa Williams said even though she wished her team had performed better as a whole, she was proud of Machen’s accomplishment.
“We were very pleased to have one of our own go on to state,” Williams said. “I’ve seen Zoe improve so much and we all wish her the best of luck.”
Williams has been coaching swimming for 10 years, but just got the Talladega team started last summer. She said starting out with children who know nothing about swimming is a challenge, but mission for her.
“The sport of swimming has been very good to my family, and I would like for others to experience the same thing,” Williams said. “We have come a long way since last summer. We had 15 on the team then, and now we have over 35 members. We not only have great kids on the team, but great families. These families are dedicated to get their children to practice each day, but not only that, they help in so many ways- running meets, planning banquets, ordering equipment, etc.”
Williams said she doesn’t care about numbers; she cares about quality swimming.
“If they never do anything with their swimming after they leave me, as long as I made a difference in their life, that’s all that matters,” Williams said. “We try to teach them the skills of swimming. It is such a healthy activity and makes you feel so good when you get it done.”
The Spring Street Recreation Center also hosts the city’s Special Olympics swim team.
While only three members strong, the team has been able to compete in sectional meets as well as the Alabama Special Olympics State games held in Troy in May.
At the state games, Jordan Germany placed first in the 25 meter freestyle and second in 25-meter breaststroke.
Holly Patterson placed first in both the 50-meter freestyle and 50m breaststroke. Devon Huffaker finished first in 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke.
They also manage to compete in a Unified Medley Relay with the assistance of coach Patrick Williams. The team finished first in that event.
Lisa Williams said the experience of working with Special Olympics athletes has been a positive one.
“You have these kids come in and, you know, they struggle a lot in life,” Williams said. “They get in that pool and we work with them and it brings such a joy to their faces. It brings me a lot of joy, too.”
The Talladega swim team will start back with the short course USA season the first week of September at the Spring Street indoor pool.
Anyone interested in participating should call Lisa Williams at (256) 362-0514.