Meet Turnout Disappoints, But Pikes On Track


Kaitie Jones appears to be reaching out for someone as she showed fine butterfly form in the 50-meter butterfly event during the Community Swim Meet Saturday at Taylor Pool.

Kaitie Jones appears to be reaching out for someone as she showed fine butterfly form in the 50-meter butterfly event during the Community Swim Meet Saturday at Taylor Pool. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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The turnout for the Taylor Pool Community Swim Meet on June 5 was disappointing, but the lack of participation is not slowing the Pikes team as it prepares for the upcoming aquatic season.

“We only had about 30 people turn out (for the meet) and most of them were swim team members,” said EVO Swim School owner David Tait. For the summer season, EVO — a swim school based in Gilbert — has teamed with the town of Payson to run Taylor Pool.

The agreement marks the first time in the history of the pool that an organization outside the town has operated it.

The Community Swim Meet, which was only the second one held, was intended to earn money for the Pikes to purchase uniforms and equipment.

However, only about $40 was generated, Tait said.

Despite the small turnout for the opening meet, the Pikes are practicing each morning under the direction of newly appointed head coach Linda Gibson and assistant coach Wendy Ward.

Gibson is no stranger to the local sports scene having formerly coached the Lady Longhorn soccer team. She also is an avid long distance runner, who has competed in the Boston Marathon and is a teacher at Payson Center for Success.

Ward has been active in Taylor Pool aquatics for several seasons.

At Taylor, EVO also employs about 30 other teachers and lifeguards, all from Payson.

The Pikes are slated to spring into action June 19 in a multi-meet to be hosted by Rio Salado Swim Club. It will be held at the Queen Creek United School District Aquatic Complex.

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Jordan Varner finishes a 25-meter freestyle event during the Community Swim Meet at Taylor Pool. Members of the Payson Pikes Swim Team are hard at work to make their mark in the summer competitive swim season. The team practices every weekday morning. The first match is June 19 in Queen Creek. The first home contest is June 26 with Camp Verde.

The Pikes make their formal Rim Country debut June 26 at Taylor in a dual meet against Camp Verde.

The team also has dual meets at Taylor Pool on July 10 vs. Prescott Valley and July 17 vs. Cottonwood.

The summer season wraps up July 24 with the Arizona Parks and Recreation State Meet at Kino Pool.

In addition to the swim team offering, EVO employees are teaching swim lessons from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“Those are going really well, we’ve had a good turnout,” said Tait.

Enrollees in swim lessons can sign up for two-week sessions or the entire summer.

Also on the pool agenda is open swim from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Admission is $2.

Tait’s concern in hosting open swim so often for lengthy periods is that there must be a good turnout to cover the expenses of the program.

“As a business, it’s tough to meet all the costs (of open swim) for only $2 admission,” he said. “If the people really want to support the pool, they should take advantage of open swim.”

Also at Taylor, the always-popular water aerobics classes, which traditionally attract throngs of frisky seniors, are held from 9 to 10 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

A general lap swim is held 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Admission for aerobics and the lap swim is $2 per visit.

An adult group, which costs $55 for the summer, is from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The pool can also be rented for special events and parties.

For more information, call (877) 539-5009.

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