GONZALES — Weather has been the enemy of the Gonzales Dolphins Swim Team this season.
The team, which practices and holds its home meets at the Gonzales city pool in Jambalaya Park, had to reschedule all of its meets because of lightning and inclement weather this season, head coach Maggie Hall said.
However, despite a few weather-related hiccups, swimmers have progressed and improved their strokes as the team winds down the season.
Hall, and co-head coach Bridget Champagne said the team, which competes in the River Cities Swim League, included 194 swimmers ages 3 to 18 this year.
In addition to bad weather, the coaches had to deal with dozens of new swimmers.
Hall said she was pleased to see an influx of 13- to 14-year-old swimmers join the program this season.
Hall, who teaches and is the swim coach at St. Amant High School, said she has been with the league for 10 years, but this was her first year as head coach.
With a pen tucked away in her hair and a whistle around her neck, Hall spent a recent morning practice working with a group of young swimmers.
As she instructed the swimmers to jump in the pool to prepare to practice the back stroke, she stopped to assist a swimmer with his stroke.
She grasped the young swimmer’s arms and mimicked the motions he would make underwater to produce an efficient, clean stroke. After the quick lesson, Hall high-fived the swimmer and gave him a hug.
On the other end of the pool, Champagne was working with the youngest swimmers on the team.
She used a soft, rubber swimming noodle to help them with their dives.
The practice moved swiftly and, surprisingly, well-organized for the number of children around the pool.
In the bleachers, parents and other children watched the action and chatted about the upcoming meets.
Patricia Peno, a Prairieville Middle School teacher who has three children on the team, said she has spent most of her summer school vacation poolside.
“Look, she got it and every dive is good now,” she said of her youngest, Gabrielle, 9.
Peno said her family enjoys spending time at practices and meets and appreciates the program.
“It’s what we do in the summer,” she said.
“Swimmers, take your mark,” Champagne said as her groups practiced another stroke.
Champagne, who is in her second year as coach for the team, said coaching is rewarding.
“Being able to teach any child how to swim is very rewarding,” she said.
With their eyes constantly on the children, the coaches were quick to congratulate children on proper strokes and give pointers on how to improve.
“Arms, arms,” Champagne said to a swimmer making his way across the pool.
The swimmers’ season ends this week with the city meet.