Over 1100 local youth swimmers are in the final stages of training with the recreation swim season wrapping up over the next three weekends with the biggest meets of the year: the 53rd Concord Swimming Championships July 26-28 and the 59th Contra Costa County Championships in Lafayette Aug. 2-4.
Unfortunately, the biggest story of the summer hasn’t been about the competition in local pools but rather the situation surrounding the Walnut Country Swim Team and its dispute with the Cowell Homeowners Association that has moved to evict the Concord team from its home pool of over 40 years.
Walnut Country Swim Team began in the 1970s and competed in its first City Meet during those years before taking a 10-year hiatus from the meet. The Stingrays returned for the 20th annual meet in 1986 and have taken part every year since.
The Walnut Country Swim Team committee was blindsided May 28 when an attorney for the homeowners association board, which owns the pool the swim team has called home since the 1970s, informed them they would need to find a new pool in 2020 as the team would no longer would be able to use the pool behind the community center on South Larwin Ave.
There have been more canceled and rescheduled dates than actual meetings between the two parties this year. The two sides finally met without lawyers on June 21.
Residents of the subdivision have forced a recall election of CHOA president Mark Weinmann and VP Todd Peterson by mail ballot between Aug. 2 and Sept. 2. Results will be announced Sept. 12. There is a regularly scheduled election for other board positions this fall.
Swim Committee chair Craig Louie says, “We’re kind of dumbfounded by the whole matter but the support of other swim teams in the area has been overwhelming. We’ve been trying to keep our swimmers out of the issue so they can enjoy a ‘regular’ season.” He has no indication what happens next as both sides have legal representatives.
At the City Meet, Dana Hills Swim Team will be seeking its 27th Concord City Meet championship in the last 28 years since the Otters won their first A Division title in 1992. The City Meet includes 11 teams with Pleasant Hill Dolfins and Forest Hills Swim Team of Martinez joining nine Concord and Clayton teams in the competition—Bishop Estates, Dana Hills, Forest Park, Gehringer Gators, Oakhurst, Springwood, Vista Diablo Dolphins, Walnut Country and Ygnacio Wood.
The City Meet begins next Friday, July 26, with individual medley races and then continues Saturday (butterfly, freestyle, medley relay) and Sunday (breaststroke, backstroke, free relay). Admission is free.
DHST, Forest Park, Walnut Country and Ygnacio Wood were the top team finishers in A Division at last year’s City Meet. In B Division, Springwood, Dana Hills and Ygnacio Wood finished ahead of Forest Park, which had won the B meet for six straight years. A and B divisions are determined based on swimmer’s times during the season.
DHST have been in the top five at County Meet Division I the past eight years. The Otters finished second to perennial champions Crow Canyon Country Club of Danville after taking third in the team standings three consecutive summers.
Divisions at County Meet at Acalanes High School are based on the number of entries for each participating team. Forest Park won the County Division II championship for the fifth time in 2015.
Forest Park Flyers win Devil Mountain Pentathlon
The 25th Devil Mountain Pentathlon hosted by Dana Hills at the end of June saw Forest Park take first among the 15 teams joining the hosts at the unique meet in Clayton. Each boy and girl swims five races in a day with their cumulative time accounting for individual placings.
Dana Hills doesn’t take part in the team standings. Forest Park was first with Springwood third, Walnut Country fifth and Ygnacio Wood sixth for the top local finishers.
Local swimmers taking 1st or 2nd in A Division:
Girls: 6 & under- 1. Ava Cottam (DH), 2. Guilianna Lucia (FP); 7-8 – 1. Marina Didenko (VDD), 2. Alyssa Nonaka (WC); 11-12- 1. Brooke Koller (DH); 13-14- 1. Julianna Colchico-Greeley (FP); 15-18- 1. Paige Landstrom (DH), 2. Enya Castaneda (SP).
Boys: 7-8- 1. Raymond Lucia (FP), 2. Ramsey Lewis (WC); 9-10- 2. Vince Della Santina (DH); 11-12- 1. Dominick Maffei (DH), 2. Michael Albert (DH); 13-14 1. Kyle Hetherton (DH), 2. Colton Seastrand (DH); 15-18- Jacob Soderlund (SW), 2. Kai Welsh (YW).