Against the tide


One of the best-kept secrets in Coconut Creek is hidden just below the surface of the township’s clubhouse pool. The swimmers from the Tsunami Swim Team have quickly turned a ripple into a swelling wave, capturing medals along the way.

The Tsunami Swim Team took home three gold medals from the 2015 South Florida Recreational Swim League Summer Championships this past August (first place overall, first place boys and first place girls) in addition to winning several silver and bronze medals. 

How does a single team accomplish this when competing against 15 other South Florida teams?

“I think we teach the kids good habits from the beginning,” says Coach Ashley Wilson, who is on the board of the South Florida Recreational Swim League and also coaches the Coconut Creek High School swim team.

The swim school started back in 1997 and had its first competitive team, The Tsunami Swim Team,  by 1998. “We only had a dozen swimmers back then,” says Coach Shane Davies, who has been with the program and the team since its inception. “After this summer session, we have over 100 swimmers participating with us.”

The Tsunamis are part of the much larger community of the South Florida Recreational Swim League, which includes teams from as far south as Dade County to as far north as the YMCA Treasure Coast with swimmers from Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties. There are well over 1,000 swimmers from ages 4 to 18 that participate in competitions all over the region.

What sets the Tsunamis apart is dedication. “Our team trains year-round and competes in all three seasons (fall, spring and summer),” says Davies. “A lot of the teams compete only during the summer, but I see that mindset changing more and more each year.”

“We also teach our kids to not compete,” says Wilson, as she watches the swimmers cut through the water with each stroke. “We teach them to watch the clock and not the person in the lane next to them. It’s not about doing better than the people you swim against, but doing better than you did yesterday.”

It seems to be working; even as the coaches run the kids through more kicking and time drills, they don’t gripe or talk back. And when they finish their laps, I can overhear them discuss their individual times and asking both coaches about how their strokes and kicks were.

“Swimming is fun. And honestly, I’m not coordinated on land,” shares Julia, age 17, who has been with the swim team for 9 years. 

“I love the competitiveness of swimming,” say Maddie, age 14, who is in her fifth year with the team.

“The kids want to be here,” Davies says. “A lot of them swim more than just the two times a week we meet for practice. And you can see it in their attitude, from them assessing themselves to how they react when we give them more drills.”

“It’s also that they think I’m a little bit crazy and they don’t want to hear me giving them even more laps!” Wilson adds.

This dedication extends to the parents of the Tsunamis; the entire league is run by volunteers – from members on the board, to the judges and timers, to the concessions sold at each event.

“It’s amazing seeing how all the parents are so organized and work together,” says Fadia Sylvester, a parent and the team’s unofficial public relations person. “As new parents join, you’ll see the parents who will be leaving the next year teaching the new ones what to do to take over.”

The relationship the swimmers have goes much further than just teammates in the water; they are friends and mentors as well. 

“A lot of my swimmers seem to feel comfortable with me and will sometimes share things with me first before they go to their parents,” says Wilson.

What all swimmers learn, whether they are on the team or just learning to swim at the school, is self-discipline, sportsmanship and inner strength. 

“It’s great exercise and I am good at it,” says Ethan, age 14, with a big smile.

For more information on the Tsunami Swim Team, visit facebook.com/TsunamiSwimTeam.


You May Also Like

Corvina Seafood Grill and B the Difference Collaborate for an Evening of Fundraising

The Summer Soiree event will benefit the South Florida charity.

Corvina Seafood Grill
Pura Vida Expands with Two New Locations in Palm Beach County

The all-day cafe expands to Jupiter and Delray Beach.

Villa Azur: A Dining Experience With Fairytale Flair in Miami Beach

Once you step into Villa Azur, an energetic and ethereal restaurant in Miami Beach, you will be transported into a world where dining is not just about enjoying a meal. It’s an experience that you’ll never forget. Think of the restaurant as a magical location, proven by the sparkling lights that greet you once you

Other Posts

Coconut Creek’s ArtsFest 2014

A series of black penned lines or a splash of color; clearly defined subject matter, an abstract of colors or something a little more thought provoking – Art can come in a variety of mediums and forms. Whether you are a connoisseur of different art forms or just know what you like when you see

Passion for the Arts

The evening sky lights up with the orange glow of fire and neon hula-hoops as dancers and performers fill the street and writhe to the heavy percussion of Latin music. This may be a typical scene on a hot night on Miami Beach, but not one you would expect of an increasingly popular cultural venue

Making The Grade

Our children are important to us and thus by extension so is their education. Looking for the right private school is not an easy task and just as arduous as looking for a college when the time comes. From testing, application, interviews and even more testing, it all can seem overwhelming for both the parents and children.

A Time to Remember

When October rolls around, everyone breaks out their pink clothing and ribbons to support those they know and love that have breast cancer, and to remember those whom they have lost. It is a life-changing event that has repercussions that extend beyond the disease and treatment and impacts even those who act as a support