Eighteen members of the Georgia Swimming Academy Sharks, who represent the Troup County Parks and Recreation Commission, will compete in the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association state meet that will be held today and Saturday in Carrollton.
More than 1,200 swimmers representing nearly 30 recreational departments across the state will participate.
To reach state, swimmers had to finish in the top three at a district meet.
Two of the Sharks who qualified for state had to return to Korea.
Still, Sharks coach Tom Fraenkel is pleased with the contingent heading to Carrollton, especially since a lot of the swimmers are still relatively new to competitive swimming.
“One third of them have been in training for no more than six months,” Fraenkel said. “They’ve come up through the lessons.
One little boy made it, and he’s only been training for a month and a half.”
Fraenkel said he enjoys the opportunity to get young swimmers in the fold so he can “teach them correctly from scratch.”
He said he has a lot of young swimmers who are potential future champions, although he doesn’t sugarcoat how difficult that road can be.
“You have to realize how important it is to work hard,” Fraenkel said. “Swimming is one of the toughest sports.”
After this weekend’s meet, the swimmers will take a couple of weeks off before reconvening for the start of the short-course season, which runs from August to March.