Swim team off the blocks

Nicholas Sparling

For the first time in 16 years, Bakersfield College will have a swim team again.
Despite the rain, clouds and the cold, the team has been jumping right into the water six days a week for practice and spending three days a week out of the pool with weight practice.
According to swimmer Tim Escalante, “practice is tough but necessary in order to get into shape.”
The number of swimmers wasn’t quite what swim instructor and coach Charles Pike would have like to have seen.
Only 11-12 males and eight females turned out for the team, half of Pike’s ideal number of swimmers.
However, Pike doesn’t feel that a small team will be entirely devastating to their season.
The team’s first competition will be the John Joseph Conference Relays on Feb. 15. It will take place at Ventura College.
Pike is glad that their first meet is a relay so no one will have to go at it alone.
It will also give Pike the ability to feel out the team without putting any one swimmer on the spot.
Pike plans on the team becoming much more competitive as the season progresses.
“Because of our numbers we may run into some troubles with the dual meets, but I’m expecting the team to do well in state competition due to dedicated and outstanding swimmers who came out for the team,” said Pike.
He is also planning to have the team build and become stronger in coming years.
Pike was hoping that the local media would help get the word out about the swim team, but it mainly relied on word of mouth.
The team had an information table in the middle of campus during the first week of school.
Pike also talked to many high school coaches, but he said he would like to have the chance to talk to interested students personally in the future.
The team has a luau planned this summer for fund raising to provide necessary funds for the team; it will be their second fund raising event since the team’s inception.
They plan on pulling in between $2,000 and $3,000 from the luau fundraiser. The team is trying to raise money for equipment and travel expenses to supplement the funding they receive from the school.
The team’s first fund raiser was the U.S. Water Polo Nationals for women, a weeklong event held on campus and at Cal State-Bakersfield. The team was able to raise $5,000 from the event.
Pike has already chosen team captains for the season.
Skylar VanAuken, from Garces Memorial High School, will be the women’s captain.
Matt Moon, from Taft High School, will be the captain for the men.