Sycamore Hills Swim Club will try for its sixth consecutive title when the City Swim Meet begins Friday evening at South Side's Brown Natatorium.
The preliminary rounds start at 4:30 p.m. in the 8-and-younger divisions, followed by the 11-12 and 15-and-over preliminaries at 8 a.m. Saturday with the 9-10 and 13-14 preliminaries beginning at 12:30 p.m. The finals for all age groups start at 1 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
One change for this year is Sunday's annual march-in parade featuring all the swimmers will start earlier, at 11:30 a.m. All swimmers are asked to remain outside until the parade. Doors open to the public at 10:30 a.m.
Sixteen teams will participate in the event's 52nd year. There's probably no more colorful or louder event in Fort Wayne each summer. Every year, more than 1,000 screaming kids have their faces painted and wear funny hats and costumes for the march-in before the finals. Sometimes the kids are loud enough to match their proud parents.
Everyone wears homemade T-shirts and is encouraged to show their spirit in any way possible because noise makes for faster times.
Winning streaks are nothing new at the city meet. At one point in the early 1990s, Avalon had won 22 titles in 25 years before Arlington Park ended the run. The two clubs battled back and forth for five years until Avalon won six titles in a row, and Arlington Park won three in a row from 1997 to 1999. Then Avalon won another eight in a row before Sycamore Hills took over.
Last year Sycamore Hills won both boys and girls divisions to total 1943.5 points to Blackhawk's 1604. Arlington Park was third and Avalon fourth.
Usually the swim title is decided by depth as much as quality. The larger teams earn lots of points by placing as many swimmers as possible in the top eight of each event.