Younger Members of Bedford Swim Team - Early 1970’s
Front row left to right - Julie Wilhite, Leslie Quigg, Susan Murphy, David Johnson, Chris Lee, and Carrie Jones. Row two left to right - Jim Gerkin, Unknown, Doug Zehr, Trent Speers, Chris Gates, Greg Tardy, and Chris Jones. Row three left to right - Cindy Elliott, Jill Appold, Jill Wilhite, Janet Bottorf, Jane Beaver, Debbie Beaver, Debbie Shaver, Jenny Elliott, and Ann Quigg. Row four left to right - Eric Robinson, Steve Dunsford, Tim Murphy, Trent Stump , Peter Gani, Tom Shaver, and Kip Lagorin. Back row left to right - Coach Jan Buker and Assistant Coach John Kyme.
The History of Lawrence County Aquatics
In 1966, then Head Lifeguard Jan Buker1 at Otis Park Pool wanted to teach and train a small group of swimmers in proper stroke mechanics. According to Buker, he “couldn’t stand seeing kids swim with their heads up.” By the end of the summer, about 20 kids were training on a regular basis. The kids swam just one dual meet at summer’s end which they lost to Paoli. The next summer, the number of swimmers doubled. Bedford beat Paoli but lost to Martinsville by over 500 pts.
By 1969, a parent board was formed in order to help with the growing summer club membership. No fees were charged and donations were made including stopwatches and starting blocks. Now a subject of swimming lore the “wall”, a non-movable bulkhead, at Otis Park Pool. It took donated materials, along with cooperation between the Bedford Parks and the club, in order to accommodate a turn end for the meets. Prior to the wall’s construction, a rope indicated the turn end of the course. With the help of parents and sponsors, the club enjoyed unparalleled momentum. In 1972 the Southern Indiana Swim Conference was established. The conference included nine cities including Bedford, Brownstown, Seymour, Bloomington and Martinsville. By the second year of the conference the newly formed Bedford Swim Club took the conference championship2. Charter members of the parent management group included Bill and Sue Quigg, Dale and Marilyn Robinson, Jim and Marilyn Shaver, Dave and Judy Elliott, Bob and Marge Lee, Pat and Bill Kyme, George Kyme, John Kyme, Rita and Gene Riley, Jack and Anne Dunsford, Paul and Joanne Murphy, Earl and Jan LaGorin, Ray and Jean Jarrard, and Hubert and Cassie Wheatley3. At the end of her career coach Jan Buker left the team at the end of 1973 with a dual meet record of 27-1.
In the summer of 1975 the BNL High School pool opened. The Bedford Swim Club changed its name, along with many of it's policies, in order to tie into the high school competitive program. The nickname “Starfish” was added to the original name creating the Bedford Starfish Swim Club (BSSC)2.
In 1976, Coach Larry Zoller arrived to lead the club in training and competition. He also coached the BNL high school program. That winter, Bedford Swim Club became an incorporated non-profit organization and joined the Central Indiana Swim Conference (CISC). They registered as a member of the Indiana Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The 12-team conference met year round in dual meets and semi-annual championships. The club served as an excellent feeder program for the BNL High School program. Under Coach Zoller’s leadership BNL won eight men’s conference championships, seven men’s sectional titles, and one women’s sectional title from 1976-1989. Many of the athletes on these championship teams trace their beginning to the Bedford Swim Club.
Eventually a change in coaches at BNL along with the swim club left the LCA without a clear parent group to lead the club into the future. Coach Bill Deckard began coaching BNL immediately following coach Zoller’s exit. Deckard helped the club continue a summer program. The club offered no winter swimming at BNL and was part of a small South Central Indiana Swim Conference. According to parent board members Ginny Schultz and Starr DeJesus the club swam during the early 90’s against conference members Mitchell, Linton, Brownstown, and Scottsburg. In addition to a culminating championship conference meet, the club members would attend the White River Games (later renamed Hoosier State Games) at summer’s end. The club renamed themselves once again to the Bedford Swim Team creating the acronym BeST.
By the 90's the club enjoyed a thriving summer program winning multiple conference meets. In the winter of 1998-99 Damon Hall, began a “winter conditioning” program for club swimmers who wished to continue during the winter months at BNL. As plans were being made by the parent group for the summer of 2000 coaches created and chartered with Indiana Swimming to create a separate club, titled Lawrence County Aquatics (LCA). The decision was made to relinquish control of the team to the BNL coaches in the summer of 2000. The Bedford Swim Team fulfilled its conference obligations while attending Indiana Swimming sanctioned meets. Under the direction of new coaches the club withdrew from the conference in order to focus on year-round sanctioned swimming.
By the end of it's first 12 months as Lawrence County Aquatics a new parent board was established with limited responsibility. Under President Bruce Hewetson LCA became a non-profit organization and incorporated formally in May of 2002. In the Fall of 2002, the club was in need of new head coach. The board brought on Marc McCay as head coach. Coach McCay would end up coaching LCA for 9 years taking the club to it's highest levels of membership and success to date. A small group of parents including Hewetson, Paul Sanders, Damon Hall, Teressa Fields, Jenny Morgan, and Alice Robbins carried out the formal mission of the club. By 2003 LCA was once again a parent-directed organization. In the summer of 2003 LCA hosted it's first sanctioned home meet. The Quarry Classic is an annual event drawing athletes from around the state..
Past USA Swimming Charters4
1986:Bedford Starfish Swim Club
1988-1989: Bedford Swim Team
1992-1999: Bedford Swim Club
2000 - Current: Lawrence County Aquatics, Inc.
1Interviews were conducted with Jan Buker, Marge Lee, Judy Elliott, Hubert Wheatley, Cassie Wheatley, Jim Shaver, Bill Deckard, Rachel Fields, Rita Riley, Starr DeJesus, Ginny Schultz, Larry Zoller, Jenny Morgan, Damon Hall, Dale Robinson, Marilyn Robinson, and Missy Neff.
2Bedford Starfish Handbook, 1977
3List provided by Judy Elliott and Marge Lee, 07-24-11.
4List provided by Sandy Vollmer, Member Services, USA Swimming, 07-27-11.