Former Swim Team Star Returns As Coach


A teenager who once starred for the Payson Pikes swim team as a 4-year-old has taken over as head coach.

Shea Hatch, 17, was appointed the new head coach of the town-sponsored recreation team at the onset of the summer.


Payson recreation youth swim team coach Shea Hatch (center) is surrounded by assistant coaches Josh Blalock and Melleny McLaws.

Hatch will be a senior at Payson High School next school year. Hatch's long tenure on the swim team and the fact she is the daughter of a former Pike coach, Dani Hatch, has been a plus.

"I use a lot of the workouts that my mom used when I was on the team," she said.

Assisting Hatch with her duties are Josh Blalock and Melleny McLaws.

Under the direction of the trio of coaches, the fledgling swimmers practice each day from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Taylor Pool.

The team has five meets scheduled for this summer. The first, against the Cottonwood Clippers, was held June 21.

Because it was a recreational meet, team scores were not kept.

Following the meet, Hatch, Blalock and McLaws said several of the swimmers turned in exceptional performances.

"Jade Holland did really well in the 7-9-year-old (girls) division," she said.

Others drawing praise were Kady Ward (11-12 girls), Rachel Ward (13-14 girls), Travis Mollohan (11-12 boys), Logan Morgan (6-and-under boys) and Marley Melchizedek (11-12 girls).

Upcoming home meets are June 28 (vs. Camp Verde) and July 12 (vs. Prescott). All home meets begin at 8 a.m. at Taylor Pool.

On July 19, some members of the team will travel to Arizona State University in Tempe to compete in an Arizona Parks and Recreation Association meet. Also on the agenda is the Aug. 2 Verde Valley Invitational.

Currently, the Payson team roster sports 82 team members, many of them in the 7 to 8-years and 9 to 10-years age groups.

"We have a lot of younger swimmers --hose are two largest groups," Hatch said.

In youth swim competition, the athletes compete in age/sex divisions in four basic strokes -- breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and freestyle.

In the individual medley relay, swimmers must perform each stroke over a designated distance.

A freestyle relay also is held in each division.

For more information about the swim team, call the Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Department at 474-5242, ext. 7.

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