The Fairmont Area Swim Team has been around for the past 15 years. The Fairmont Aquatic Club, even longer than that. The two programs recently decided to merge in hopes of creating more year-round swimmers in Fairmont.
"We just decided that we had a pretty good thing going with the year-round swimmers and trying to get some of the other kids involved that swim summer only," Fairmont State and Club Swim Coach Pat Snively said. "We felt like the merge of the two would be beneficial for improving year-round swimming for the area."
Fairmont State University is one of the few schools across the state that offers swimming as a varsity sport. But the school decided to take it a step further by offering youngsters an opportunity to participate in competitions and training throughout the year.
"I was having so much fun during swimming," 11-year-old Swimmer Isabella Gibson said. "I was like, 'I want to do this year-round and this is really what I want to do, this is my sport.' So now I've just been able to work on my technique and I've just been able to get better and better. Now it's like the only thing that I really love."
"I don't know, it's just that I really like swimming a lot because I like competing against other people," Fairmont Swimmer Jordan Keener said. "But I don't really like competing against my friends because I don't like to see them lose or anything."
Coach Snively said the programs at FSU have helped keep local talent in Fairmont. But he said the bigger challenge is attracting more kids to the pool.
"Right now, we've got a really solid base of younger kids and the sky is the limit for them," Snively said. "We just need to get more kids involved and we hope this can be one of the driving forces to get more kids involved with swimming."