No not the ‘70s hard rock song by Heart. Not even the large fish known for its fearsome appearance. These barracuda live in Union.
The Union YMCA Barracudas are a swim team formed three years ago. Now in its fourth year, the team competes in the YMCA League. Rebecca Allen helped found the team, the first for Union.
Taylor Gibbs and Jenny Alexander, who swam competitively growing up, coach the team, comprised of 23 members, age 5-12. The Barracudas competed in their first meet in Greenwood recently and did well.
“We are so proud we could bust,” said Gibbs.
“It was a wonderful experience,” said Alexander. “The swimmers surprised themselves and placed well. I think the families were also surprised at the fun atmosphere of the meet. Swimming is an individual sport, but the joy is in cheering each other on and rejoicing in successes. We are so proud of our swimmers.”
The team practices from May to July. If the team finds an indoor pool they could join a winter league from September to February.
To join the Barracudas, a swimmer must be able to swim the entire length of the pool without stopping. Practice consists of swimming laps almost continuously for an hour. YMCA swim lessons are encouraged until a swimmer can go 25 yards.
“It takes dedication and guts,” said Taylor.
“Swimming takes building strength and perfecting technique,” said Alexander. “Good swimmers work hard.”
Gibbs and Alexander are focused on building a quality program for Union County.
“Our team this summer has been remarkable in their willingness to work hard, learn strokes and turns, and face multiple teams far more established than our own,” said Alexander. “We hope to continue teaching, giving swimmers the best possibilities for success.”
“Hopefully, we will retain most of our swimmers for next year and can be even more competitive,” said Gibbs.
The Barracudas are: Cody Adkins, Anne Alexander, Madalyn Alexander, Reid Bailey, Blake Berry, Benjamin Byrd, Logan Crocker, Jacob Crocker, Claire Douglass, Justin Dudley, Jessica Gibbs, Mark Katherine Gibbs, William Gibbs, Noah Green, Ann Jordan Hathcock, Carson Hickson, Bailey Kingsmore, Mallory McGee, Devin McNeil, Erin Miller, Kayleigh Miller, Becca Richardson and Hunter Richardson.
The team will be in action today in Pickens County.