SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Swimmers from the City of Derry Swim Team of Ireland faced off with their teenaged counterparts from the Highland Swim Club of Scotch Plains on Sunday in a swim meet that has become an annual summer tradition for the swim teams.
The Derry team has been bringing swimmers to New Jersey each summer for 35 years to participate in a number of swim events, including several ocean swims. The swimmers stay with host families in shore communities such as Spring Lake and Avon. The team added Highland Swim Club to its itinerary 12 years ago as the result of a relationship between one of the club’s swim coaches and a host family.
“We’ve made a lot of new friends at Highland over the years,” said Carmel Gorman, swim coach for the Derry Swim Team. “The Highland meet has always been great fun for our team and gives our swimmers a pool break from all of the sea swims they participate in at the Jersey Shore.”
This year, 13 swimmers aged 14-17 from Derry participated in the meet at Highland, competing in swim events including the individual medley, freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and relays.
“The Highland team had a lot of fun swimming against their peers from Ireland,” said Mark Johnson, Highland swim coach. “Swimming can be a lot of hard work, but the meet with Derry demonstrates the international reach of swimming and adds a fun element that the kids really enjoy.”
The Highland Swim Club sits on five privatel acres of land on South Martine Ave. in Scotch Plains. Since 1952, the club has provided residents with a family-friendly alternative to the large, crowded public pools of surrounding communities. The club offers free swim lessons for member children and supports a competitive summer swim team. For more information, visit www.hscpool.com.