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Rutherford County Swim Team invites new members

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Coach "K" Kernodle with two medal winners. Photo contributed.

The Rutherford County Swim Team has been in existence since 1986 and very successful, said longtime Coach Mike Kernodle just days before this year's open house /recruitment session on September 10 at the ICC pool. The event will include a mock practice and demonstrate all the competitive strokes. The coaches will speak with visitors and their children. Interested children may "try out" for the team by demonstrating that they are water safe.

Financial information will be provided for all those interested.

Kernoldle said following the formal visit/informational session there will be a brief period when the visiting children can get in the pool with swimmers for "free time." The open house begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 10 a.m. Light refreshments will be offered.

Rutherford County Swim Team is a small, non-profit, parent run; USA Swimming affiliated, year round, competitive swim team with swimmers from ages 5 to 18, Kernodle explains. There are between 20 and 50 swimmers, seasonally affected. One of the desires of coaches and parents is to insure that no child who desires to swim is excluded.

"We host one swim meet per year and the proceeds along with our membership dues of $45 per month for the first child in a family and $25 per month for each additional child is the extent of our income," Kernodle said. "We are grateful for the support from organizations that have seen value in our organization."

The Rutherford County Swim Team has had a couple of briefly tenured coaches, but two coaches hold the distinction of many years with the team. Coaches have been Charles "Uncle Chucky" Stockton and Michael "Coach K" Kernodle. Stockton coached the team for the better part of 20 years and Coach Kernodle has coached the team for the past 18 years. Both have dedicated themselves to the success of the team and the betterment of its swimmers. Both have been instrumental in the position and prestige the Rutherford County Swim Team maintains in western North Carolina.

"Our goal is not now nor has it ever been to produce championship athletes, although we have produced numerous State Champion Swimmers over the 36 years of our existence and sent many to swim successfully for Colleges and Universities," Kernodle said. "Our goal is to produce physically fit, emotionally confident and healthy young adults by engaging them in a demanding athletic activity. Our expanded focus is to involve the entire family in the activities of the swim team and have continuing dialogue regarding nutrition, exercise, academics, and appropriate ways of supporting their young swimmers. One of the tools used for this end is our Team's Facebook page which creates a sense of family among the families of swimmers."

The measure of the team's success is the individual successes of the swimmers.

"We record the improvements in their swimming times from competitions entered. We note their willingness to continue to confront the difficult every day," Kernodle added. "We observe the evolving of our swimmers as they become healthy, vibrant, confident young adults. These successes are not limited to the pool. Their confidence is evident as they step out beyond their comfort zones and confront the difficult challenges their lives present."

As a swim team the term club is often interchangeable, Kernodle said.

"However, we do not actually refer to ourselves as a club but rather a "team". "We are a parent run, 501-c3 tax exempt organization with a board of directors and operate under the USA Swimming umbrella."

The team practices year 'round with Long Course (50 meter lengths) competitions in the summer and Short Course (25 yard lengths) competitions in the winter.

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