Lake Norman & Mooresville

New swim coach helps drive team

The Farms subdivision's Homestead Hammerheads are making waves this year with their new swim coach, Kara Lennon.

"I battle Brawley School Road for these children," said Lennon, 34 of Cornelius. "One of my biggest challenges was learning 120 names, but now I know each of their names, last names and even the names of many of their parents."

Lennon moved to North Carolina in October from New Jersey and interviewed to be a swim coach with a couple of teams when she received a call from Dawn Deal, parent representative for the Hammerheads.

Deal, who also moved from New Jersey, asked: "Are you the same Kara Lennon I swam against back in 1992 in high school?"

Lennon was, and she got the job as coach for the Hammerheads in Mooresville.

The Hammerheads compete in the Lake Norman Swim League along with teams from The Point, The Harbour, Winslow Bay and Morrison Plantation. The philosophy of The Lake Norman Swim League is to promote good sportsmanship, team work and fun, and to orient swimmers to competition properly.

Lennon has help from Assistant Coach Taylor Jones, 20. It is Taylor's second year coaching the Hammerheads, and her favorite part of coaching is "watching things improve over the season."

Assistant coaches Michael Blinn, 18, and Brendan Guthrie, 18, both recent graduates of Lake Norman High School, also help. Blinn used to swim for the Hammerheads when he was in seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

Now he says he "lightens the mood.

"Swimming is supposed to be fun. We don't get mad if they don't do well. We want them to do well, but if they don't, it's OK."

"The little swim team that could" is how Bonnie Battalia, mother of two swimmers, Andrew and Ella, describes the 2011 Hammerheads.

"A swim team is a group of kids that are all ages and in one place. They limit the little ones to certain strokes, but they can see what the other kids are doing and learn from it," said Bonnie Battalia. "Swimming is a family sport. A meet cannot happen without family volunteers."

Angela Yeh, mother of three swimmers Alex, Ryan and Sabrina, and future swimmer baby Sarabeth, said a swim team provides the children with "a sense of community, good exercise and lots of fun."

Ryan, 7, broke four out of five records on the book this year.

Lennon said they are a dedicated family for this team. "They are the first to arrive and the last to leave."

Tracy Mason, mother of Preston, 9, said, "the kids have fun with it. Some of the kids are 'summer friends.' They don't see each other through the school year. Being on the team, they motivate themselves among each other."

Ted Kratt, 8, chose green and black bands for his braces - Hammerhead colors.

"We're a little team, but we have fun. A great experience," said his mother Meredith Kratt. "It made my children love swimming."