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Fond farewells for West Laurel Wahoos swim team | North Laurel/Savage

Summers are typically filled with early morning Saturday swim meets. This year, local swim teams found other ways to honor their aging-out senior teammates.

The West Laurel Wahoos have six graduating seniors, and many of them live in North Laurel neighborhoods. Their families were invited to write about the special memories their girls had while on the team.

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Nicole Schmidt, a graduate of Atholton High School, joined the West Laurel Swim Team in 2009 when she was 7 years old. This year marked her 12th swim season. Nicole’s parents said, “She has enjoyed swimming since she was a baby and first swam on her own when she was about 3 years old.”

Nicole now attends the University of South Carolina to study international business.

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Sara Clark, also a graduate of Atholton, joined the team when she was 6 years old. “She enjoyed the traditional season-end paper plate awards, cheering the team, family fun night and viewing the photos taken by the team photographer” according to her mother. Sara now attends the University of Maryland, College Park studying government and politics.

Kayla Hendershot recently graduated from Hammond High School. She joined the West Laurel Swim Team in 2010 as an 8-and-under swimmer. Kayla swam for West Laurel for 10 years. Her mother described her best memories as “making friends, Saturday swim meets, cheering for her teammates, family fun nights and listening to her dad make jokes on the announcements during the Saturday swim meets.” Kayla plans to earn a degree in elementary education. She is attending Howard Community College where she will be playing for the HCC volleyball team.

Sarah Shaner joined the team when she was 4 years old and was the “Littlest Wahoo” twice. Sarah loved being on the team and especially enjoyed the friendships she made. She has moved on to Grove City College and is studying elementary education.

Belle Perez joined the West Laurel Wahoos in 2011. Being on the team taught her how to swim and she had so much fun doing it. Some of her favorite times were Friday morning fun practices with doughnuts afterward, when the coach shaved his head in the name of team spirit and enjoying the traditional walking taco during a meet. Belle’s mother, Dawn Perez, said, “there are so many wonderful memories, too many to name, but Belle will always look back and cherish her summers on the team.”

Belle attends Howard Community College and studies visual arts, a perfect major for her because Belle had been known as the team artist, designing T-shirts for special swim meets.

This time of year, I usually write about the Savage 7K Run/1 Mile Historic Walk and fortunately, it is still planned for this year. However, it is a virtual event. Phil Lang of Bullseye Running has included it in the Bullseye Running’s Back to School Virtual Challenge.

According to Norma Broadwater, the Carroll Baldwin Hall manager, the school theme is perfect for the Savage 7K, as the route includes three current schools: Patuxent Valley Middle School, Bollman Bridge Elementary School and Bethel Christian Academy. The route also runs past the locations of the original Savage elementary schools.

On the website, carrollbaldwinhall.org, participants can read about how to sign up for this challenge that supports both Bullseye Running and Baldwin Hall. Handouts will be available outside the hall with a map of the route along with information on local businesses and Savage history. If you have questions, email savage7@carrollbaldwinhall.org.

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