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Elk Grove Citizen

Fun, Family, Friends & Fitness!

May 25, 2018 12:00AM ● By By Jan Float

Gold River is acclaimed for being the most gracious hosts and throwing the best Pool Parties. Photo by Tom Jones

GOLD RIVER, CA (MPG) - Can you name another sport that combines all of these in a single all-hands-on-deck venue? Trite but oh-so-true: It Takes a Village. Accordingly, Gold River has named its village “Stingrays Nation.” Without parental volunteers, running around in their various capacities, neither would there be a nation nor a team. From poolside, parents take a time-out to watch their children swim their hearts out. Talk about hubbub -- fun-filled, family-oriented, friends-animated, fitness-at-its-finest!

Gold River is acclaimed for being the most gracious hosts and throwing the best Pool Parties. After opening their gates, opponents are warmly greeted and shown around Stingrays’ Nation. Cue craziness: Check-ins, tents set up, gear unpacked, electronics checked -- a flurry of actions to settle in and begin the day. Both teams then take a patriotic pause, place hands over hearts, and enjoy a Stingrays’ solo/duet/trio singing poignant renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner. All swimmers warm-up [wake up] their bodies; “WE BELIEVE” cheers galvanize the masses; the referee, starter, timers, stroke-and-turn judges, age-group parents and others take their marks; witty announcers start broadcasting; and athletes are off to the races!

Throughout the meet, bee-bopping tunes blare, coaches high-five swimmers, computer wizards generate results, the team photographer snaps away, swimmers are led to ready benches, hospitality serves snacks and drinks to officials, ribbons are labeled, gold-silver-bronze incentives are distributed, yummy snow-cones are custom made, burgers and hotdogs fly off the BBQ. It’s a whirling dervish of Fun, Family, Friends & Fitness activity. Stingrays’ Spirit is so rampant that a few seasons back, rehearsed adults surprised the crowd with a join-in Flash Mob … busting out some decent moves to Michael Jackson’s Thriller! Okay. Michael was admittedly somewhat better.

Emulating the team’s announcers, “Here’s introducing the Kronbetter Family!” Mike, Laura, and their happy swimmers, Alexa and Luke, serve as prime examples of life within Stingrays Nation. This fun foursome always jumps right in, contributing to the joy, laughter and all-round camaraderie. As the 7-8 boys age-group parent, Laura corrals up this rambunctious group and ensures they’re on the ready bench for their next event, each boy with cap and goggles in hand and on head. Mike and Laura understand that young athletes learn to set goals, reach their potentials, and rack up personal-best stats. 11-year-old Alexa and Luke, at age eight, benefit from these priorities at home and as team members.

After establishing their faster-than-expected seed times on May 5, including an astonishing 201 Personal Bests, Stingrays Nation opened those gates to Arden Hills the following week. These two teams aren’t exactly rivals. They BELIEVE as Gold River does: It’s all about Fun, Families, Friends & Fitness. By a narrow margin, 37 points, the Stingrays were in for the win.

After Championships in July, those who hit rigid time standards compete in the grand finale, August’s Meet of Champs. Here in Meet No. 1, from a small-but-mighty roster of 127 Stingrays, 20 made the cut. Stingrays Nation has a jam-packed June (five meets and four social events). Whew! Fun, Family, Friends & Fitness. With this schedule, there will be much to report next month!