Dive into Auburn summer swim programs

Youth aquatics season starts soon at ARD
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal Features Editor
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Longer days and sunnier skies hint at the arrival of summer, and the Auburn Recreation District is getting a head-start on the season as youth swim programs begin this spring.

“Swimming is one of the best sports for developing children, because it provides aerobic as well as anaerobic exercise in a low-impact environment,” said Sheryl Petersen, recreation services manager for ARD.


Now in its 50th year, the Robalos swim team kicks off April 3 with a Stroke and Turn program designed to get swimmers back in shape for the season, which starts May 1. The team – which head coach Tyler Bonner said could boast up to 180 swimmers this year – meets Mondays through Thursdays at Recreation Park. Swimmers ages 6 to 18 learn competitive swimming through enhancing stroke technique, racing strategy and physical conditioning.

“It’s lap-by-lap swimming,” explained Bonner, who takes the helm this year along with assistant coaches Glenn Carnahan and Lauren Anderson. “We’ll break it down by leg work, we’ll break it down with upper body work, and we’ll put it all together and do full-body”

The Robalos, divided into age brackets, compete against teams in Placerville, Orange-vale and Rancho Cordova. Bonner said swimmers of all abilities are welcome.

Bonner, swim coach at Placer High School as well, swam with the Robalos from age 8 until he was 18. He said swimmers will learn about all aspects of the sport, from stroke technique to breath control, along with making new friends and having a great time.

“It provided one of the best sporting events that I felt I could do throughout summertimes and then into high school,” Bonner said, “and I carried it on into college, as well.”


Another competitive youth swim team has less to do with lap swimming, but offers a great workout just the same. The Mermaids synchronized swim season starts in May, with a conditioning clinic scheduled to start April 2.

Sheri Patton, who is head coach along with her daughter, Breanne Patton, swam with the Mermaids as a child.

Fifty team members learn synchronized swimming, combining elements of swimming and ballet routines set to music. Swimmers ages 4 to 18 are welcome to join the team, which practices four days a week. 

“You get to see a lot of friends that you don’t get to see normally, and it’s just a good way to spend your time in the summer when you’re not in school,” said 11-year-old Katy James, now in her fifth year.

Molly Dunham, whose daughter Avery is a Mermaid and whose son, Aidan, is the sole Mer-man, said she’s happy her children are involved, as it’s a fun way to get exercise over summer break.

“I think it’s a really positive environment,” Dunham said. “There is always encouragement. … It’s a good opportunity for team-building skills and sportsmanship.”

Reach Krissi Khohobashvili at Follow her on Twitter, @AuburnJournalAE.



Youth Aquatics

Robalos and Mermaids meet at Sierra Pool at Recreation Park, 123 Recreation Drive, Auburn. For more information about the programs, or to sign up, call (530) 885-8461 or visit


Stroke and Turn

What: Pre-season conditioning. Swimmers will refine freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. For swimmers capable of swimming these strokes.

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, April 3-26; 8 and under meets from 5:45-6:30 p.m.; 9-18 and up meets 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Cost: 8 and under $45 resident, $50 nonresident; 9-18 $60 resident; $65 nonresident

Swimming team

When: Mondays through Thursdays, May 1 to June 8 from 3:30-6:30 p.m.; June 11 through July 19 7-10:40 a.m.

Cost: $155 resident, $160 nonresident for first two swimmers; $140/$145 additional swimmers. $75 parent participation fee.




What: Learn and practice basic figures. Open to beginning to experienced swimmers.

When: 6:15-7:15 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, April 2-30

Cost: $50 residents; $55 nonresidents

Synchronized swimming team

When: 6:30-8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, May 1 through June 7; 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, June 11 through July 19.

Cost: $170 resident; $175 nonresident. $75 parent participation fee.