Hope’s very own summer-only swim team, the Hope Piranhas, is set to make a splash this season after being out last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team began their first practice since the 2019 season last week on May 24th and Amy Knoll, who has been coaching the team for three years now and is one of the two coaches for the team along with Diana Hovarter, could see how much the longer break than usual had an impact on them.
“We normally only get to swim over the summer anyway, but I could definitely tell you that at the beginning of the year the swimmers were more tired than normal,” she said. “It was hard but it was also a little disappointing too.”
14-year-old Abigail Crow who has been a member of the team for four years now could definitely feel it during her first practice.
“It was rough, this year especially,” she said. “We’re in a place we’ve never been before with being out of the water for so long.”
13-year-old Sadie Knoll, who has been on the team for five years and is the daughter of Coach Amy, felt it as well but sees the bright side in it.
“We’re out of shape right now,” she said. “We’re going to have to gain our strength back for sure. It going to be hard, but it’s going to be very exciting as well.”
Sadie and Abigail got into swimming around the same time and both thought it would be a fun experience to try out.
“I always loved swimming and then when my cousins told me about it I had to join,” Abigail said.
Sadie says that joining the team has been a great experience and although the team isn’t accepting any new members for this season anymore, she encourages others to join next year.
“We all get along pretty well,” she said. “You meet new people you don’t know and you get closer to people you do know.”
The Piranhas have around 15 swimmers and Coach Amy says they were all ready to be back.
“It’s great being back now, everyone’s excited,” she said. “The younger kids whine a little bit but truly everybody’s excited.”
Coach Amy says the team has done well in previous years, including having five of their swimmers qualify for the Jr. Olympics back in 2019.
The team has their first meet of the year this weekend, June 5th, in Warren, Arkansas. Their full schedule is pictured below for those that want to go out and support the team.