Many times throughout its history, the Gwinnett County Swim League’s annual county championship meet often boils down to somewhat of a numbers game.
And in many ways, this year’s meet, which gets underway today at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center beginning with the Spirit of the League heat at 9:15 a.m., should be the same.
More than 2,200 swimmers from 45 community teams, roughly a third of the league’s 6,667 swimmers, will compete over the next two days, with some teams ranging from more than 175 swimmers who have qualified, to others with as few as 40.
But while some of the larger clubs stand the biggest chances of taking home the team trophy, that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of competition and fun across the board.
“The top teams are pretty darn good,” said GCSL president Brian Beckman. “And everybody else that gets to go are having a ball. They can knock off Goliath in any individual event. That’s what makes it exciting for the smaller teams.”
The defending champion Daniel Park Twisters should again be considered one of the favorites, along with the 2011 champion Thunderbolts and 2009-10 champion Chateau Elan.
But Twisters coach Kathy Janzen knows repeating won’t be an easy task, and it’s not just the two other large teams that has her attention.
“It’s always difficult coming back as defending champion,” Janzen said. “Everybody’s gunning for you. It’s a whole lot more relaxing to go in and surprise.
“Of course, the Thunderbolts and Chateau Elan are going to be strong again. Flowers Crossing (Mighty Marlins) has some really strong 15-18-year-olds. Lansmoore (Lasers) are very good. … So, it’s going to be a challenge. I think it’s going to be a close, competitive meet again.”
With perhaps one of the largest group of serious contenders for the team title in recent years, every event in every age group will be important.
In addition, Thunderbolts coach Jim Reason looks to which team’s swimmers can peak at the right time being just as big a factor.
And he is confident his team is swimming well just at the right time.
“There are a lot of teams that will be up there (near the top),” Reason said. “I like our team a lot. We’ve had a lot of kids who took vacation (during the regular season), and we had a lot of rainouts. So, we haven’t really put it all together yet, but this is a chance to finally put it all together.
“For us, our little kids are important, and they’re starting to round into form.”