Pikes' Home Opener Friday Against Barracudas

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Payson Pikes swim team members have the opportunity to showcase their aquatic skills June 16 at Taylor Pool against the visiting Bullhead City Barracudas.

The competition will be the first of the season for the almost 100 members who began early morning practice sessions June 4.

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Kady Ward is one of three Payson Pikes swim coaches. The team will be in action June 15 at Taylor Pool against the Bullhead City Barracudas.

The older team members practice at Taylor from 7 to 8 a.m., and the younger swimmers hone their skills from 8 to 9 a.m.

On hand to coach the team this season is Wendy Ward. Kady Ward and Blake Noriega assist her.

During practice sessions, the fledgling swimmers are taught the nuances of the backstroke, freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke.

In competitions, the team members compete in age divisions doing those basic strokes, as well as relay events.

Following the opener against the Barracudas, the Pikes host the Cottonwood Clippers (June 30), Sedona (July 7), Camp Verde (July 14) and wrap up the season at an intersquad meet July 28.

Warm-ups at each meet begin at 7 a.m. and the actual competition begins an hour later.

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Pikes team member Ashley Ammann practices her strokes during a June 11 practice session at Taylor Pool.

Pikes history

Former Taylor Pool manager Jim Quinlan founded the Payson Pikes swim team in 1986.

At the team's pinnacle, in the early 1990s, the roster featured 150-plus swimmers who traveled the state representing Taylor Pool and Payson.

From Pikes team ranks, many swimmers have gone on to become lifeguards and swim instructors at Taylor and other pools.

Former Pikes member Austin White eventually became a team coach and pool manager. Currently he is fulfilling his lifelong ambition of working as a trainer at SeaWorld in San Diego, Calif.

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