BEAUMONT — Southeast Texas swim teams competed in the first meet of the summer on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at the Thomas Center Natatorium in Beaumont.
The Beaumont Area Swim Team Sharks, Spindletop Sea Dragons of Mid County and the Piranhas from Orange County, let it loose in the water with about 275 swimmers ranging from ages 4 to 19.
Among those in attendance was Karley Thompson, a coach for the very team she grew up swimming for, the Sea Dragons.
"I’ve been to nationals when I was 12...and got two gold medals," stated Thompson about her prior summer success.
The medals don't stop there as this Sea Dragon may be more known for being a Bulldog and swimming her way to state all four years of her career at Nederland High School.
As far as what continues to drive her passion for the water and helping the younger Dragons, Thompson said, "I just always enjoyed doing it and I like to help the younger kids...it’s fun to watch them grow and get better as they get older."
Thompson will be continuing her aquatic journey this upcoming fall at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
Beaumont Area Swim Team coach Sheena Walker enjoys being the Sharks' number one fan, cheerleader and supporter. Coach Walker can often be seen greeting all of her swimmers after their races, thrilled to congratulate them on a new personal best or even celebrate a first place finish.
"I think it’s so exciting because these kids have been practicing for six weeks now, and now they get to see all of their hard work pay off," stated Walker.
When asked what, or who, was his inspiration for swimming, one Olympic legend instantly came to mind for BAST member Noah Landry.
"It would have to be Michael Phelps...he never quit, which was interesting," said Landry.
BAST will host six more swim meets at the Thomas Center every Saturday through the end of July.
Each swim meet starts at 9 a.m. and admission is $3.