Triggerfish Team Going Swimmingly

May 16, 2018

When Jess Lanke took the job as Director of Recreation and Aquatics, she was most excited about working with the swim team.

“This Aquatics program is special to me because I grew up and learned how to swim at this JCC. After going through the JCC swim lesson program, I went on to join the North Shore Swim Club and continued to swim through high school. I love that I am able to help develop the next generation of swimmers through the Triggerfish Swim Team program here,” said Lanke.

In the fall of 2016, she and Assistant Aquatics Director, Taylor Ladd, prepared to put their own stamp on the JCC Triggerfish Swim Team. At that point, people were unsure of the direction the team was taking, and in the fall session only 3 swimmers enrolled at first. Jess and Taylor evaluated how their team would best fit into the competitive swim environment and decided that the Triggerfish would become a transitional swim team, meaning the team would help kids coming right out of traditional swim lessons and prepare them for what a competitive swim team could be like. This seemed to fit best with the current American Red Cross Learn to Swim program offered at the JCC and would provide kids in the upper levels of the program with a next step to continue their love for swim. With this new focused mindset and goal, the team quickly gained momentum and had 15 swimmers by the end of that fall session.

Triggerfish now has between 25-30 kids taking up four lanes of the pool during its two day a week, hour long practices. The practices range from focusing on endurance, speed, racing, technique, and dives to the fun and camaraderie of a game of “Go Ghost” or two at the end. The Triggerfish swimmers also use different types of equipment during practices that include kick boards, pull buoys, and fins.

Team member Catherine Podzilni reports,“I like being on the Triggerfish swim team because it is a fun thing to do, and you make new friends!”

Each March, the Triggerfish compete in a meet with other teams. For many kids, this is their first time competing at a real meet. This year, all 15 swimmers that attended the March meet swam at least one, if not all, of their events the fastest they had ever gone and achieved personal best times in those events. Jess and Taylor are so proud of all the team has accomplished in such a short time and for the impact the team has had on each swimmer on an individual level.

In the marine world, the triggerfish is known to exhibit a level of intelligence that is unusual among fishes, and has the ability to learn from previous experiences. So, too, do our JCC Triggerfish learn from each new experience in the pool. Our current swimmers are getting excited for June when the team moves out to the Hy & Richard Smith JCC Water Park in Mequon for outdoor practices where they will practice diving from the starting blocks.

Twice a year the swim team opens its doors to new swimmers with a swim skills clinic. This acts as a jumpstart for kids interested in the team and focuses on the four competitive strokes over the course of three days. If you know a young swimmer who might be interested in joining a team that will introduce them to the world of competitive swimming in a welcoming and inclusive way, contact Head Coach Taylor Ladd. Jump in - the water’s warm!