The Douglas Dolfins are celebrating their 50th anniversary as a club swim team, reflecting on the many lives that have been touched by swimming.
“We have an average of 60 swimmers on the team a year, for about 50 years,” said Kat Matheson, the team’s head coach. “That’s 3,000 kids and an average of two parents a kid, that’s a lot of alumni and a lot of people we have impacted.”
In the summer of ’64, inspired by the Reno Aquatics Club performing an exhibition meet, the community came together and formed that became known at the time as the Marlins. According to the 30th anniversary article, there are two stories that regale how the Dolfins got their current name. The team remained the Marlins until 1971, when they changed the name to the Tigers to match the school’s mascot. By 1975, the team became known as the Dolfins, supposedly spelling it the way it is in order to distinguish themselves from the Reno club who was then known as the Dolphins. The second story however, tells us that the Dolfins began using the odd spelling only because the swimsuits that were ordered for the team were misspelled and printed that way.
Today, the Dolfins are known for the name as well as the tight knit team that they have created. Assistant Coach Sarah Davenport elaborated on the team culture that has been around since she was a young girl. Davenport, now 34, started swimming on the Dolfins during her fifth year of school and her mom, Susan Govan, started coaching on the team not long after, when Davenport was 13 or 14. By the time Davenport was 20, she had been made the head coach of the Dolfins. She kept many of the same traditions she had grown up with, such as the annual Bishop meet and the annual water fight that goes with it, which Sarah has been doing since she was 9 years old. However, she did immediately make some changes to the team. “I took the team and broke it up into a progressive program and built it into the team we have today,” Davenport said. “We try to make it fun but we’re also a very competitive team, it’s all about balance.”
Clearly, their program has worked for two members of the Dolfins, Shelby Koontz and Shaelin Morefield are both junior national-caliber swimmers. And according to Matheson, since she started in 2005, a lot of team records have been broken. Morefield will be attending Cal Poly this coming year as a freshman with a swimming scholarship. Koontz will be a junior at Douglas High School.
However, they are not the only successful swimmers that the Dolfins have seen. Fourteen years ago, Jeff Maynor achieved a cut to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter butterfly. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Maynor spent his high school years at Douglas High, and as a Dolfin. “This year, I’m going for the experience and not really expecting too much,” Maynor said in a past interview with The Record-Courier. “I think if I can keep improving over the next four years like I have the last four, I should have a decent shot at it (making the Olympic team) in 2004.”
Though the Dolfins have not seen another Olympic Trials cut, Koontz could be on her way after breaking multiple meet records this summer, including a Western Zone meet record in Clovis, Calif., by two to three seconds. As just a junior in high school, Koontz has a lot of room to grow with coaches Matheson and Davenport working with her.
“Kat and I work really close together for the kids, it’s really great to have two coaches with such knowledge and experience,” Davenport said.
With the summer of success concluding at the Douglas home meet Aug. 10, the Dolfins finish off their summer with another tradition: fun week.
The Dolfins spent the week doing different activities before returning to school on Monday, when fall training starts — and year 51 begins.