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Summer league kicks off today
Swimmers avoid drought restrictions

For roughly a month, there were major concerns that the 36th year of the Gwinnett County Swim League wouldn't happen because of the harsh drought in Georgia.

But through the worries of three months ago, organizers moved forward with planning and made their case for summer swim leagues. The positive thinking paid off when Gov. Sonny Perdue allowed pools to be filled for the summer, meaning more the more than 6,000 swimmers in the GCSL were free to compete.

Tonight is the opening night of meets, with 46 teams competing at 23 different sites in the Gwinnett area.

"We were very worried (about the season)," GCSL president Tim Vander Wood said. "Initially we weren't going to have swimming pools (filled) for the summer. We had to make sure our county and state government knew our concerns. We were really happy when the governor said let them swim."

The Thursday night meets are very popular in the swimming community with roughly 4,000 families involved in the league. Many of the parents and others volunteer their time to keep the season running smoothly, were it be scoring, timing or other duties on meet night.

The regular season leads up to the county championship, slated for July 19-20 at Georgia Tech. The Gwin Oaks Raiders are the two-time defending GCSL champions, edging the runner-up Thunderbolts at last year's meet. Morning View, Chateau Elan and Evergreen Lakes rounded out last summer's top five.

SideBar: Swimming

What: Gwinnett County Swim League

When: Meets begin today and run Thursdays through the July 19-20 county meet at

Georgia Tech

Noteworthy: Summer league features 46 teams and more than 6,000 youth swimmers; league was founded in 1973 with three teams; two-time defending league champion is Gwin Oaks