Swimmers Work Toward Triathlon

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The 2006 edition of the Taylor Pool youth swim team debuted Saturday in an intrasquad scrimmage.

During the two-hour session, almost 70 members of the team honed their aquatic skills in preparation for the upcoming season.

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Austin White, who co-manages Taylor Pool with Mandy Randall and Melanie McLaws, is a former Pikes swim team member.

The season kicks off in earnest July 1 when the Camp Verde swim team visits Taylor for a dual meet.

The season continues July 8 with the inaugural Payson Parks and Recreation-sponsored sprint triathlon, which will feature a youth division that swim team members are encouraged to enter. It will include a 200-yard swim, three-mile bike ride and a 1.5 mile run.

Action continues July 15 at Taylor against Sedona and July 22 vs. Cottonwood, also at Taylor.

All meets tip off at 8 a.m.

The campaign wraps up July 21 with the annual awards ceremony and open swim. The ceremony and a picnic will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in a Rumsey Park ramada. The swim will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Taylor Pool.

This season, the team is coached by Wendy Ward, Susan Hall and Melanie McLaws.

Under their direction, the young swimmers, seven to 18 years of age, have learned the nuances of the backstroke, freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke in weekday practice sessions held from 6:30 to 8:25 a.m.

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Lifeguard Many Randall is usually on duty at Taylor Pool to ensure safety for swim team members and others who use the pool.

The Payson swim team opened the season buoyed by two decades of aquatic success.

The team, originally known as the Pikes, was founded by former Taylor Pool manager Jim Quinlan who later turned over the coaching reins to a long list of successors.

In the early days, the team roster often sported more than 100 young swimmers.

Many of those went on to become certified lifeguards at Taylor, Chaparral Pines and the Tonto Apache pool.

The trio of current Taylor Pool managers -- Austin White, Mandy Randall and Melanie McLaws -- are former swim team members.

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