Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SPORTS >> Piranhas program growing

Leader sports editor

On Saturday, the Cabot Piranhas swim team completed its third meet of the season. About 90 swimmers make up the team this year, which is a bit below average from recent years, and makes the Cabot squad one of the smaller teams in the Central Arkansas Swim League.

Head coach Debbie Skidmore, who started the team in 1999, has watched, and overseen, the program’s development since those first days.

The program didn’t even have a home pool for the first several years, and practiced in the city’s non-regulation public swimming pool on Ritchie Road in Cabot.

Now the team practices at the Cabot Community Center’s regulation-sized indoor pool, which has also played a role in the program’s development.

The Cabot team isn’t just a CASL competitor.

“We are now sort of a developmental program for the Dolphin-Lasers program in Little Rock.”

The Dolphin-Lasers is a year-round USA Swimming competitive team. It’s a combination of the old and storied Little Rock Dolphins, and the more recent Lasers program. Its home pool is at UALR, and a few Cabot team members compete for the program on a year-round basis.

Skidmore would call Cabot’s Piranhas program less of a competitive team, and more like an instructional program.

“We’re kind of like a swim academy,” Skidmore said. “We have four coaches and some days we’ll focus on younger boys, or older girls. We spend time with individual groups and giving different people more focused training.”

The program also has a peewee team and a novice team for individuals who aren’t interested in competition, to go along with the Piranhas competitive squad.

But it’s not always all work at Piranhas’ practices. On Wednesdays, team members play water polo, and different equipment like flippers and kickboards are brought out for different activities.

“We want to make them better swimmers, but we want them to have fun with it too,” Skidmore said. “It’s really a program for any level you wish to be at. If you want to seriously compete, or if you just want to have fun and become a better recreational swimmer, we have something to offer.”

For more information about the Piranhas swim team, or to get involved, contact Dawn Beckley at