For the first time, the Pine Bluff Sharks Swim Club won the Arkansas AAU State Championships over the weekend.
The team hosted the three-day event at the Pine Bluff Aquatic Center, a first for the facility. The team has been swimming and representing Pine Bluff for almost 20 years, and this year has teamed up with the Pine Bluff Aquatic Center and its new manager and coach, Farrin Cain.
Sharks coach Troy DeBill was thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with someone as accomplished as Cain.
“To work with and learn from someone who has won four national championships and coached swimmers at the highest level is the chance of a lifetime,” said DeBill. “I knew that if we joined forces, the team could win titles.”
This turned out to be true over the weekend.
The Sharks scored 743 total points to claim first place in Arkansas. The competition was not easy, Cain said.
“We were up against some of the best swimmers in the state,” Cain said. “These kids train all year round for times like this. Every team that came out had a great meet and every swimmer was at their best. We really want to thank the 14 clubs that came from all over. State, as well as all the officials and volunteers who made this meeting possible. “
The Sharks had swimmers who won top prizes in their age categories.
Cade Cobb, 17, won the boys’ 15-18 division with 83 points.
Jodi Barnes, 17, tied for victory in the 15-18 girls’ division with 65 points.
11-year-old Farida Sallam won the girls’ division 11-12 with 72 points.
7-year-old Atalia Burbank won the girls’ under-8 division with 38 points.
Swimmers who placed first, second or third over the weekend qualified to compete at the AAU Olympic Junior Nationals in Houston in July.
The team’s final standings were as follows: Pine Bluff Sharks Swim Club, 743; Central Arkansas Runners, 607; Shark ATAC Swim Team (Searcy), 570; Aquatic club of the Texarkana zone, 510; Monticello Marlins, 444; Magnolia Dolphin Swim Team, 309; Warren Waves Swim Team, 141; PAC dolphins (Pocahontas), 109; Bryant Aquatic School, 71; Dart Frogs Aquatics (Jonesboro), 47; Crest (Crossett), 46; Hope Piranhas swim team, 34; Mountain Home Hurricane, 23; and Arkadelphia City Swim Team, 13.
You can find more information about the Pine Bluff Aquatic Center or how to become a shark by visiting the front desk, logging into cityofpinebluff-ar.gov/aquatics, or visiting the Facebook page at facebook.com/pinebluffaquatics.