There were splashes, jitters, tears and noise. A lot of noise. Playing children provided plenty of joyful sounds Friday afternoon at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, but they were matched by enthusiastic parents rooting on the Gwinnett County Swim League's youngest swimmers as they kicked off the league's annual meet.

The near-capacity crowd watched as the GCSL's youngest - all 8-and-under and some as young as 4-year-old Caitlyn Munson of Apalachee Aquatics - navigated the lanes at one of the country's top college pools. Children who haven't even been swimming long showed they also could be competitors, not unlike their older counterparts who hit the pool today and Sunday, the meet's final two days. Some youngsters had to fight through tears and nerves, showing courage beyond their age.

Only the best of the league's 6,000-plus swimmers and 45 teams get to swim at county after earning necessary qualifying times. The best of the best last year was Gwin Oaks, the event's defending champion.