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February 22, 2019

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Bluffton Sardines to swim for gold at WOAL champs July 13-14

148 swimmers on this year's team

 With 115 swimmers, Bluffton’s Sardines have high expectations for a top-team finish at the Western Ohio Aquatics League championships July 13-14 at the Wapakoneta city pool.

The eight teams make up the WOAL are from Ada, Bluffton, Kenton, Shawnee, Sherwood/Lima, VanWert, Wapakoneta, and Westside/Lima.

“The Bluffton Sardines have grown into a very competitive swim program and we have high hopes for a strong showing at the WOAL championship meet this year,” said Bob Verb, head coach.

In 2016 the team finished fourth overall. Last year, the team came in third place and was their highest-ever finish in the WOAL.

“For our 2018 season, our record is 7-1 with our single loss to Westside/Lima by only 30 points. Our Sardines will be swimming to win this weekend!”

This season the team includes 148 swimmers, but not all choose to swim at the WOAL champs. So far this season, the team has seen 19 individual and relay records broken.

“Participation in the sport of swimming is growing across the country and right here in Bluffton. Swimming is a sport where everyone can participate at a variety of skill levels and find success,” said Verb.

“Many of the Sardines are now year-round swimmers in the regional YMCA league where they continue to develop their technique and compete regionally.  Some Bluffton swimmers are also swimming for the Lima or Putnam USA swim teams and have qualified for Junior Olympics,” said Verb.

The Sardines have four Junior Olympic qualifiers on the team, Jackson Bowlus, Jenna Downey, June Essinger and Riley Verb.

The 2018 Sardines coaching staff includes Verb, as head coach and Emily Brodman, April Dorman, Kayla Dawson, Delaney Reineke and Cole Wilson as assistant coaches. For more information on the Bluffton Sardines visit its website by clicking here.