While many kids swim in the summer as a pastime, some Batesville children put their swimming skills to the test when they competed in the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Trey Moody, Joseph Wells and Seth Thompson-Bailey of Batesville all competed in the event on July 26-29.
Joseph, 12, said traveling to the competition was part of the fun.
“You’re always a team, even when you’re competing against each other,” he said.
Trey, 9, competed in the junior Olympics last year and said the atmosphere while he’s swimming is his favorite part.
“When you touch the water, you just take off,” he said.
Trey, Joseph and Seth are three swimmers out of 15 who went to the Olympics in Michigan. They swim for the South Wind Conference team.
The three boys were the top scorers in the South Wind Conference, said Lackey Moody, Trey’s father.
Seth, 13, said the annual competition gives him a chance to make friends with other kids his age who share a passion for swimming, and who he wouldn’t have met if he hadn’t competed with them.
He said he became friends with fellow swimmers from Hawaii and Qatar.
These swimmers didn’t have to look far for inspiration while they were at the competition, held at the University of Michigan. Olympian Michael Phelps is among swimmers hosting in the past at the Junior Olympics.
Swimming in the same water as Olympians inspired Seth while he was competing.
“I want to go to Rio in the next four years,” Seth said.
Joseph’s mother, Valerie Wells, said she’s proud of the swimmers who went to the competition.
“This was [Joseph’s] first year to go, and we really enjoyed it,” she said.
The swimmers will start practice Sept. 15 for the new season and swim until the Junior Olympic Games. During the summer, the swimmers don’t have homework to worry about, so they can focus primarily on the sport, Wells said.
The team practices at Lyon College’s pool, and members practice individually at residential pools when the college pool is unavailable or they need extra time to perfect a stroke.
Moody said he has watched his son continually improve in the sport, along with his fellow swimmers.
“They work hard all summer, and they’ve mastered all four strokes,” he said. “They get faster at every meet.”
A complete list of times and scores from the AAU Junior Olympic Games is available at www.aaujrogames.org.
Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or email@example.com.