Meanwhile, the bulk of the Bluefins have their focus dead-set on the Georgia Recreation and Park Association District Meet, which will be held at Lakeshore Natatorium on Saturday, July 14, where they’ll try to get through to the GRPA State Meet — also at Lakeshore — on July 27-28.
“Everybody is trying to get ready for it. The top three in each event move on to GRPA state, which will be held here two weeks later,” Weeks said. “So we’re trying to get everybody lined up for that. Get their two events — they get to swim two individuals and two relays — so we’re trying to get everybody lined up for that. So it’s kind of a busy time. Championship season is always busy.”
The USA Swim Meet for the 14-and-under long course competitors will be held in Jonesboro, with long course state set for July 18-21 at Georgia Tech.
A couple of veterans to the long course state competition — Hanna Lee, 13, and Jennie Lee, 10 — will be in action this weekend looking to qualify in more events.
“Hanna is actually 13 now. She aged up June 2, so in GRPA terms she can still swim as a 12 year old, but USA just does your age and you have to swim what your age is then. So she has to move up. So she’ll have to swim in 13 and 14,” Weeks said.
Hanna Lee said it will be tougher this go-around for the long course competition, but she’s looking forward to the challenge.
“This year I just aged up a day before the age limit, so I have to swim as a 13 year old and the cuts, they have a dramatic drop,” Hanna Lee said. “It’s so hard to make those cuts.”
Jennie Lee will be one of the older competitors in her 9-10 division this weekend, and she is confident about her chances at putting on a strong showing not just this weekend, but at the pair of state competitions, as well.
“I kind of have a feeling. It’s not as big as it used to be for 8-and-under, but yeah I guess I’ve got a shot,” Jennie Lee said.
And while some of the more experienced Bluefins are up to their old tricks this summer, Weeks is also excited about how his newcomers are looking heading into championship month.
Ashley Todd, 12, has been with the program for nearly a year now, but this will be her first opportunity to qualify for GRPA state next weekend at district.
“It would mean a lot to me because this is my first year and a lot of people don’t make it their first year swimming. But I think I have a good chance,” Todd said of qualifying for state.
In addition to all the local events going on, Bluefin standout Joshua Grover will be competing with the Georgia Zone Team later this month at the USA Southeastern Zone Championships in Rockwall, Texas, on July 31-Aug. 5.
And while it makes for a busy juggling act for Weeks — not to mention several of the swimmers — it’s also an exciting time for the Bluefin bunch.
“Things are going well. We’re starting to get our older kids ready to go and swimming fast. They’re coming to practice and they’re excited about it. So they’re ready to push it to the limit and see what they can do and hopefully we can pull some championships this season and still send as many to the USA State as we can send and see how successful we can be,” Weeks said.
Lakeshore will also serve as the host to the West Georgia Summer Swim League Championship this Saturday at 5:30 p.m., which pits all the local summer swim clubs against one another.
And with the Olympic Trials just getting underway, Weeks said interest in the sport itself will hit a boom as the world’s best take to the ultimate stage later this summer.
“All these kids watching the Olympics Trials, they’re starting to learn what pressure is about. You know, how these Olympic swimmers are under pressure where you’ve got one time of you make the team or you don’t,” Weeks said.
Weeks said there is normally a 10-to-12 percent increase in registration for fall swimming following the Summer Olympics, and the Bluefin coach said with the United States expected to shine once again, he is looking for similar numbers this year.
“In 2008, we had 50-some people try out for the team in August and September. So we’re already seeing an increase in people e-mailing us saying, ‘Hey, my kid is interested,’ and we just got done with the Olympic Trials,” Weeks said.
Weeks also recently added a new coach to his staff in Florida State graduate Brianna Evans, who he said has been a tremendous addition to fellow assistant John Pepper and community coaches Meghan Grover, Russ Green and Kim Ussery.
“We’re doing extremely well. I’m happy with the success of the kids. We’re starting to get some really fast kids and hopefully that will turn over and get us about 60 kids from district to state,” Weeks said.