Crocs now the hunted at the City Swim Meet

The Coosaw Creek Crocodiles hope to defend their City Swim Meet championship, starting today when the three-day event kicks off at the Jewish Community Center in West Ashley.

Marina Filo has been swimming on the Coosaw Creek team for 11 seasons. And she has true appreciation for what her team did last spring when the Crocodiles dethroned Snee Farm after a run of 22 straight victories in the Coastal Carolina Aquatic Association’s Championship Meet.

“I was looking at the stats. In 1998, we were coming in 24th, and now we’re finally at the top,” said Filo, 17. “When I started on this team, we were having fun with it, but now we’re determined to win and keep our title.”

Coosaw Creek now has that target on its back heading into the City Swim Meet which begins today and continues through Tuesday at the Jewish Community Center. Today’s events are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., while the starting time for Monday and Tuesday is 5:30 p.m.

“Because we’re defending a title, we’re not hunting the winner. We’re being hunted. It’s a little more nerve-wracking,” said Melissa Williams, 14.

Nicholas Loe, 17, said the win in last year’s City Swim Meet was a confidence booster and has made the team work harder this year.

Coosaw Creek coach Jaeson May, who began coaching the Crocodiles in 1999, said it has been a slow, gradual climb from the bottom, but the team has embraced that challenge.

“We’ve climbed and climbed and climbed, so the last several years we’ve been chasing. We’ve had that goal. Now we’re on top and it’s a different perspective. The challenge is how to maintain and focus on your goals. It’s different, but it’s not any more difficult,” May said.

May said it’s all about the swimmers, and he demands their best.

“I tell them, ‘You get out of it what you put into it. And if you deserve it, you’ll get it.’ Now that they’ve won it, are they going to defend it?” May said.

May said the City Meet is completely different from the dual meets, in which Coosaw Creek was unbeaten this year. All 22 teams will be participating, which changes the philosophy about which swimmers will compete in the various events. While Coosaw Creek’s swim team has 160 members, only 42 will be participating in the City Meet.

“We’ve changed our lineups here and there to see what everybody is capable of doing. There are so many X-factors (in the City Meet) that could skew everything,” May said.

Swimmers are limited in the number of individual events in which they can compete, so coaches must go to a depth chart, trying to field the strongest overall team.

“I’m confident with my swimmers,” May said.

“They work extremely hard and I ask a lot of them. The camaraderie, this team is very close. They enjoy hanging with each other.”