Anna Blue Dolphins swim team commemorating 35th anniversary

The Anna Blue Dolphins swim team is commemorating its 35th season in 2019.

The team was formed in 1984, with Angie Lingle Madura serving as the first coach of the Blue Dolphins.

Since its founding, there have been numerous coaches for the swim team. Many of the Blue Dolphins swimmers would go on to coach the team. This season, former swimmer Clair Boget is the team’s assistant coach.

The team’s head coaches have included:

1980s: Angie Lingle Madura, Giovani Frego, Bruce Hospin, Tex Lehr, Amy Belcher and Luiz de Affonseca.

1990s: Dan Johnson, Greg Bever, Heidi Clark, Heidi Clark and Beth Taylor, Ken McFarland, Brad Isom.

2000s: Anne Frank, Herman Louw, Chris Smith and Kevin Lawrence, Karen Green, Patricia Dix, Natalie McLean Miller, Sarah Hall and Erin Gould, Cody Bailey, Maci Montgomery, Clair Boget.

Some of the team’s organizers and early board members included Joyce Lutz, Kathy Stegle, Pearlette Kocher, Don Merkley and Mary Jane Herndon.

The Blue Dolphins are  members of the Southern Illinois Swim League. The league has seven teams from the region.

The swim season runs through June and July, with the team participating in approximately 15 meets over the course of the summer. 

Swimmers practice from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on weekdays at the Anna City Pool. The Blue Dolphins’ home meets are at the pool.

Many of the team’s swimmers become certified lifeguards and work at area pools, including the Anna City Pool, through out the summer.

Natalie McLean Miller has served the longest as the team’s head coach. She was head coach of the Blue Dolphins for seven years. She also swam for the team.

Over the years, many of the original team records have been broken several times. The oldest records held in the boys events are from June 30, 1990.

Three event records are held by Jay Carter: 13-14 boys 50 free, 13-14 boys 50 back and 13-14 100 individual medley.

The 13-14 boys 50 breast record is held by Brad Roberts.

The 13-14 boys medley record is held by Adam Dillon, Gabe Harris, Ira Brown and Jay Carter.

The oldest records held in girls events are from June 30,  1992:

• The 11-12 girls 50 backstroke, which is held by Molly Braddock.

•The 11-12 girls 50 butterfly, which is held by Lori Caraker.

The most records held on the swim team belong to current team member Nile Chotner. Chotner holds 21 records for the Blue Dolphins. He also holds a record for the Southern Illinois Swim League. 

Following Chotner, the second most number of records is held by Elizabeth Bell, with 14 team records and four league records.

The swim team is selling 35 year shirts to celebrate the special 2019 anniversary. 

Links to purchase the shirt can be found on The Blue Dolphins also have a Facebook page. 

The swim team notes that late registrations are still being taken. Information is available by contacting a board member or by emailing the team at Board member contacts are listed on the team website.

The team’s season was scheduled to begin last weekend. The upcoming schedule, as posted on the team’s website, includes:

June 13, 6 p.m., at Du Quoin.

June 15, Mt. Vernon Invitational.

June 18, 6 p.m., at Herrin.

June 20, 6 p.m., at Calvert City.

June 22, Anna Invitational.

June 25, 6 p.m., Herrin at Anna.

June 29, Carbondale Invitational.

July 9, 6 p.m., at Carbondale.

July 11, 6 p.m., at Salem.

July 13, Marion Invitational.

July 16, 6 p.m., Mt. Vernon at Anna.

July 18, 6 p.m., Marion at Anna.

July 20, Salem Invitational.

July 27, championships, at Carbondale.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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