The High Blue Waves swim team won its second straight Suburban Municipal Swimming League (SMSL) Championship on Saturday, July 20 in Lee’s Summit.
This team is a part of the Belton Parks and Recreation Department, whose home pool is located at the High Blue Wellness Center. Though the team has been around for over ten years, it has been swimming in the Wellness Center for the past five years, starting when coach Jeff Stephens became involved.
“We went from a sixth to eighth place team to an undefeated team two years running,” said Stephens, who coaches the squad alongside Rob Brusick. Adam Ellis and Aaron O’Reilly are assistant coaches.
As the team grew in numbers and ability, it became increasingly difficult for the coaches to figure out what to do in order to provide adequate competition.
“We went through growing pains trying to figure out what to do,” said Stephens.
In the past year, Stephens and Brusick became certified USA swim coaches. USA Swimming is the national governing body for the sport of swimming in the U.S. The High Blue Wellness Center is waiting for their own approval from USA Swimming to have the club certified.
“It took a lot of work from the Wellness Center, our parent committee, and the coaches to develop this well-rounded approach to offer every level of swimmer a chance to have a home with us,” Stephens continued.
The High Blue Waves feature nearly 120 swimmers of different varieties. Although most of the athletes are from Belton and Raymore, there are swimmers from Pleasant Hill, Peculiar, Grandview, and Lee’s Summit on the squad.
Even though they have bested the rest of their competition two years running, the coaches are not content.
“Now that we are back-to-back champions of the SMSL, we are excited to start swimming in the Missouri Valley of USA Swimming,” said Stephens.
The team will still have their recreation swim club that participates in the SMSL Summer League, but they will now look to take a shot at a more competitive environment all around the Midwest–and the country–if the swimmers are able to qualify.
“We will offer swimming of all levels year round,” Coach Stephens concluded.
The High Blue Waves can be contacted through the Belton Parks and Recreation Department.