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Junior Sharks Keep It Fun, Fast; Sofia-Vega: “We get to try a lot.”

From one end of the pool to the other they are in this together.

They compete together. They learn together.

They grow together. But most of all, as Troup County Sharks junior swimmers they soak up all the positive vibes. They take it one day at a time and two lengths of the pool, per race.

“We get to try a lot,” said Ana Sofia-Vega, the 9-year-old junior Shark.

Every swimmer on the team also gets to compete a lot and race on a four-day basis at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center pool. Between 10 and 20 junior swimmers train with the Sharks.

They know what they are there for. This is a coed team as well for the junior Sharks.

“We are learning more and getting fast. You have to work, and we do so much stuff. We do 100’s,” said Sofia-Vega.

But that is just the beginning for the most part. “We do the breaststroke and the butterfly. I love the fresh water, and we’re learning how to swim. We do 50’s,” said Sharks 7year-old Madelin McGhie. One of her teammates and friends is Kherington Ralph. She is eight years old, and she is a swimmer of promise. She is a finisher. She always finishes what she starts in the swimming pool.

Ralph is still a work in progress and a swimmer of note. She works to win, and she considers improving her strokes a form of excelling. Ralph does know what it takes to go fast in the pool.

“You need to have some strong muscles and fast legs. I like the freestyle, and I like swimming under water. I can breathe. I get to have fun and go to meets,” said Ralph.

Daniel Gudgin is another swimmer who is going places with the Sharks. Gudgin is eight years old, and zipping from one end of the pool to the other is nothing to him.

Gudgin is becoming a breaststroke and freestyle standout. He is a fish in water, more or less a Shark. Gudgin doesn’t miss much. He is learning more with each practice.

He is becoming a competitor and a health-conscious person. “Swimming is for fun and exercise. I am learning something. Swimming is all about mobility and strength,” said Gudgin after a two-hour Sharks practice on Monday night.

The Sharks swam between 800 and 1,000 yards of laps, and Gudgin wanted to swim some more.

“He is always here early, and he is always here late. Daniel is always willing to learn,” said Kristen Moore, the head coach for the Sharks junior team.

Moore gives individual attention to all of her young stars at some point during every practice. The coach enjoys the workouts and the mentoring.

“They’re learning new skills. They’re paying attention. I like their energy and interest. Our swimmers are learning about sportsmanship. I love this, too,” said Moore.

Both the coach and the swimmers are getting something out of every Sharks practice.

“I want them to enjoy it. This can be a stress-reliever. You can work out your problems in the pool. Confidence is a huge thing, and they are getting streamlined,” said Moore.