Seeing red for the 2012 edition of the Fort Myer Squid Swim Team will be a good thing this summer.
Coming off an undefeated season and a 2011 Colonial Swimming League white division championship, a school of close to 200 Fort Myer Squid swimmers are advancing to the elite division — the league’s red division. The rise to the pinnacle of the league comes after an ascent through the league after the base swim team nearly folded last decade.
“We started seven years ago in the gold division, which is the lowest [division]. We’ve actually been on track, every two years, to move up to the next-highest division,” said Squid coach Kristina Dorville. “So this year for the first year in over a decade, we are back in the red division which is the highest division in all the Colonial Swim League.
“We’re definitely expecting to see heightened competitors. As far as the caliber of swimming, it will be just that much greater,” Dorville continued. “A lot of these teams have kids who swim year round and are very competitive. We held our own in some of the meets we swam against them in [last year’s] all-star meet and the relay carnival, but it really is going to be a different type of year for us, not only in the way we operate as a team, but we are asking the kids to step up each week and compete against these teams who have been at this level for a couple of years.”
For the upcoming swim season, the Squids’ red division adversaries will be the South Riding Stingrays, the Franklin Farm Froggers, the Broadlands Piranhas, the Cascades Rapids and the Burke Centre Penguins. In 2011, the Franklin Farm team claimed the red title with an undefeated record while South Riding was 4-1 in divisional meet swims.
“The first year [in a new division] is a little bit of a learning process,” Dorville remarked after an early June practice at the Fort Myer Officers Club lap pool. “The kids may get a little wide-eyed. They may not realize it was going to be this tough, but they step up and perform when we need them to. While we may not end up undefeated in our first season in the red division; I wouldn’t expect to be undefeated. That would be awesome, but I don’t expect it.”
A positive entering into the red division is experience. The Squid roster is loaded with veteran swimmers. Between 165 and 195 kids are ready to represent the Fort Myer Swim Team, and 90 percent of those swimmers are returning veterans. Dorville understands that deployments and military reassignments are parts of the challenge when fielding relays and filling individual race spots, but a deep roster makes assembling a card of meet-tested swimmers easier.
The first red division competitive strokes for the Squids take place at South Riding on Saturday, June 23. Fort Myer’s first home divisional meet of the season is scheduled for Saturday, June 30 against Broadlands. The first race begins at 8 a.m. The red division schedule concludes with Saturday home meets against Franklin Farm on July 14 and Burke Centre on July 21.
The FMST season officially begins with a non-divisional meet at the Army-Navy Country Club on Wednesday, June 20. A July 11 home meet against Chinquapin is also on the schedule.
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will host the CSL divisional swim meet beginning at 9 a.m. July 28 at the Fort Myer Officers Club pools.