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Published August 14th, 2013
The Bigger the Better OMPA Hosts 57th Annual Championship Meet
By Clare Varellas
Emma Knutson of MCC (bottom) finished first in the Girls 6 & under 25-yard backstroke. Photo Kevin Nguyen

If bigger means better, the Orinda-Moraga Pool Association (OMPA) championship certainly has the size factor. For the 57th year in a row, the OMPA welcomed nine recreational swim teams to compete for a championship title. On August 2-4, almost two thousand swimmers from age 3-18 swarmed Campolindo High School for the event. OMPA president Ben Horenstein noted that the event is one of the largest in the country.
"Everybody comes together in one meet," said 14-year-old swimmer Scott Wu of Meadow Swim and Tennis Club. "Dual meets are only so fun because you can only swim against one other team. When you get every single team out here, it just makes it that much better."
Bigger is not only about the number of participants, bigger also means faster. Just this year, nine meet records were broken, one of which dated back to 1978. The fastest team this year was Orinda Country Club, who won the championship for the13th year in a row, followed by Sleepy Hollow, then Meadow.
Even when swimmers do not break OMPA records, there is much celebration for "popping" one's time, swim-speak for breaking a personal record.
"I set goals for myself and I try to get better times every time I swim," said 10-year-old Aia Zabetian of Sleepy Hollow.
It is this aspect of personal improvement that makes swimming appealing not only to swimmers, but to coaches as well.
"The most fun thing is that you get to watch all of the hard work the swimmers put in during the season and watch them beat their times, and have a great time doing it," explained Miramonte Swim Club coach Kelly Noah.
With so many teams, the event also encourages a healthy rivalry. Teams show support by painting cars, wearing spirit gear, and cheering loudly from the poolside stands.
"Even though it's only recreational swimming, it feels like it's the national championships," said Wu regarding the spectators' excitement.
For many, the excitement is almost as fun as the competition. Charlie Wiser, of Orinda Country Club, competed in his last OMPA event this year and he is headed to Stanford in the fall to play water polo. He said the team spirit is what he will miss most.
"I've grown up here. You make lifelong friendships and it's basically just another support system that you can always fall back on," Wiser explained, "You always have a place you can call home."
Orinda-Moraga Pools Association
57th Annual Championship Meet 2013

Combined Team Scores
Place Team
1 Orinda Country Club
2 Sleepy Hollow Legends
3 Meadow Swim & Tennis Club
4 Moraga Country Club
5 Orinda Park Pool Swim Team
6 Moraga Valley Pool Swim Team
7 Moraga Ranch Swim Club
8 Campolindo Cabana Club Marlins
9 Miramonte Swim Club

Bronsen Trunzo of Miramonte finished first in the Boys 6 & under 25 yard backstroke. Photo Kevin Nguyen

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