BLUFFTON — The Wapakoneta Waves will be headed to Bluffton Community Pool on Friday and Saturday to compete in the two-day Elks Invitational and Western Ohio Aquatic League (WOAL) Championships.
Approximately 600 youth, from kindergarten through graduation high school seniors, will be participating, from area pools including Sherwood Park Community Club, Westside, Shawnee Country Club, Wapakoneta, Bluffton, Ada, Lost Creek and Kenton.
With upward of 100 swimmers, Wapak’s depth has translated into success historically.
“The last two years has come down between Westside and us, probably the two biggest teams in the league,” Wapak coach Mark Law said. “Numbers help quite a bit.”
Four individual events followed by a medley relay will take place Friday, while another four individual events Saturday will precede an freestyle relay and the annual memorial relay.
Though it is not scored, the memorial relay punctuating the meet Saturday is a source of pride for Wapak.
“We’ve won that the last eight years,” Law said. “We take pride in winning that relay.”
For the memorial relay, the best boy and girl from each of the five age groups are combined into relay teams.
As far as scoring and the competition itself, Law outlined his teams’ chances for success at the WOAL meet.
“We have some really age groups this year,” Law said. “There’s a chance each age group can win it.”
Law said three of Wapak’s age groups — the 8-and-under boys, the 13-14 girls and the 15-18 boys — have a real shot at winning their respective age group titles Saturday.
“Those three age groups have pretty good depth, which allows us to put some of our better swimmers in five individual events instead of putting them in one of our relays,” Law said. “Then we can put other kids in relays to score points.”
For all of his swimmers, Law said his goal for them at the WOAL meet is to win as many age groups as possible.
“Winning age groups is a huge goal, because it covers a whole group of kids. Those are pretty important,” Law said. “We’ve finished second to Westside the past four or five years, so our goal is to try and win the championship.”
Law also said he views trips to the podium for his swimmers as important, too.
“We’re always trying to get as many of our kids up on that podium,” Law said. “We have a lot of kids in all of our age group that could be on the podium.”
The top six swimmers in each event in each age group will appear on the podium and receive medals.