Alexandria City Council presented the Chinquapin Wahoos with a proclamation Tuesday night at City Hall honoring their undefeated 2013 season.
In July, the Wahoos claimed the Colonial Swimming League championship for the first time in team history.
It was a remarkable summer for the only public swim team in Alexandria and the only public team in the entire 24-squad Colonial League.
Along with the Gold Division Championship, the Wahoos took titles in the 8-and-under girls division and the 9-10 boys division. The 13-14 boys also tied for the most division wins in the league.
Under the guidance of coach Dennis Burstein, team members posted 56 personal bests at the Gold Divisionals.
“We pull our kids from the entire city, from Old Town to the West End and Del Ray,” said Laura Fries, the team rep. “Ages from 4 to 18 and all shapes and sizes. It’s just a great team. When we started, we were only 30 swimmers. So for us to go undefeated and win the division is really something. It’s a family and I’m very proud of these kids.”
Renovation work at Chinquapin Park Recreation Center displaced the Wahoos during the season. The team went back to its old stomping ground at Old Town Pool, a place the Wahoo community helped fix up years before.
Fries said the Wahoos represent the best of Alexandria, overcoming the obstacles of crumbling and outdated aquatics facilities to improve and achieve. The team helps foster friendships that defy social and economic boundaries. Families return each year to be a part of a team that embodies team spirit and good sportsmanship.
“My favorite part about the team is how we all bond together and that we all believe in each other,” said William McLaury, a six-year veteran of the Wahoos.
McLuary teamed with Emil LaSida, Ronan Lauinger and Jacob Rosario to break a 35-year-old league record in the boys 9-10 100-yard medley relay over the summer.
Councilman John Chapman, a former member of the Wahoos, was recruited by Mayor Bill Euille to deliver the proclamation.
“Yes, there was a time when I was a small swimmer,” Chapman said. “My sister also swam for the Wahoos, so it gives me great personal pleasure to present this proclamation to you guys.”
Fries said she appreciates the support from the city and looks forward to a day when Alexandria’s only public team is making waves in new city pools.