Why? Because of the Olympics that took place in London just about a month ago.
“Well we’ve seen what we see every four years after the success of the Olympics. You get people who think they may be the next Michael Phelps or the next Missy Franklin to come though. Up until [Tuesday] we had 42 people try out and actually had 22 sign up,” the Bluefins coach said.
It’s a phenomenon that is seen all across youth and recreational swimming teams and associations, but this year it is really noticeable for the Bluefins.
“USA Swimming usually sees a five percent increase in an Olympic year across the United States. There’s a five percent increase for at least six to eight months and then it goes back to normal. With the success of them, Michael doing the way he did, Ryan [Lochte], the uprising of Missy Franklin you start to see some younger kids,” Weeks said.
While the chances of making the Olympics are slim for some of these swimmers, what the influx does is add some depth to the Bluefins roster. It also brings the chance of getting a high quality swimmer in the pool that otherwise would have played another sport and never swam.
“What it has done for the swim team is it always helps us pick up our depth it helps us pick up people that normally wouldn’t have tried swimming. Along with [the Olympics] and the summer league we do through the West Georgia Swim League numbers seem to increase,” Weeks said.
Weeks was quick to point out that other areas across the Carrollton Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department saw numbers increase because of the Olympics — especially gymnastics and track and field.
Not only do the Summer Games bring in more swimmers, it also helps keep the swimmers they already have. And the new ones that have come to try out have impressed the Bluefins coach.
I’m really happy with what we’ve seen so far. Every one that’s tried out has made the 25-yard length, now whether they choose to join or not is a separate issue. But we haven’t had one person to try out for the team, that I know of that couldn’t make the one length requirement. That’s very impressive. Whenever you get that you know you have a shot to out of the quantity get quality,” Weeks said.
The current growth might even necessitate Weeks to add another coach to his staff, which he said is a good problem to have.
The high numbers in addition to the renovations that will be taking place at Lakeshore over the coming months means exciting times for the Bluefins.
“Everybody’s excited about it. Not as many people know about it that will once they start tearing that building down and start renovating. Right now it’s still in the dull stages where the planning is being done. There will be a lot more excitement coming when that starts to happen,” Weeks said.
Tryouts will continue today with one session going from 5 to 5:45 p.m. and the other going from 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and again on Thursday. Because of the numbers already seen this will be the last chance to try out until January.