Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right.       

- Henry Ford

Heatherfield Swim Team History 

Welcome to the history of the Heatherfield Swim Team!  Have you ever wondered when the team first started, how the Hurricanes name was chosen, and other interesting stories?  Here is the place to find the answers!  This page will be updated periodically with fun facts and info from the early years of the team.  Have a question about the team?  Ask Justin and he'll try to find the answer for you.

Did you know:

The Heatherfield swim team was founded in 1985.

Justin Spitzer (age 6 at the time) was on that first team.

The team's first "lane ropes" were simply nylon ropes with pieces of foam on them.

The first starting blocks were homemade out of wood by one of the fathers on the team, the late Chuck Mirarchi.  They were not bolted into the cement, so timers had to stand on the back of the blocks so they wouldn't move during a start.  Also, they were placed in the shallow end of the pool.  This is just one example of the long history of support and service the team has received from parents of swimmers.

Past coaches of the team (prior to 1997 when Justin took over), in order, include Chris Schug (now Chris Luttrell), Dan Corbett, Bert Marlin, Peggy Burnell, Chris Billett, Rachel Weir, and Dustin Smith.  Most coached for approximately 2 years each.

The original name of the team was the Heatherfield Strokebusters!  We had T-shirts and a large banner with a picture of a swimmer surrounded by a large red circle with a line through it, just like the Ghostbusters logo!  Before and after meets, the PA system played the Ghostbusters theme song, and everyone would yell "Strokebusters!" during the song instead of "Ghostbusters."

Before acquiring the current electronic starting and PA system, the team used a loud cap gun to start races during home meets and a large guitar amp to announce upcoming races and swimmers' names!

Heatherfield was originally in the now defunct "D" Division of the Mid Penn Swim League.  Other "D" teams included the also now defunct Pennbrook (20 yard pool!), Blue Mountain , and Harrisburg swim teams.  The short lived Harrisburg team consisted of inner city kids coached by Rusty Owens.  He would round them up on Saturday mornings in his van and drive them to swim meets.

​Heatherfield once hosted the "C" Division Championships!  Because of the limited space around the pool, most of the teams had to sit on the grass outside the gates, near Lopax road!

Prior to 1997, the team never had more than 40 or 45 members, and generally only won 1 or 2 meets per year on average.  In 1997, a number of new families joined the team and increased the roster size to over 70, beginning a run of 16 wins and only 4 losses over the next 4 years as the team continued to grow and prosper.  That stretch was highlighted by a perfect 5-0 record and "C" Division championship in 1998.

The Heatherfield Hurricanes name comes from a home swim meet held in the mid 1990s.  A Hurricane was passing through, causing torrential rains during the meet!  The older boys on the team - Justin Spitzer, Chris Burnell, and John Schminky - spent most of the meet in the team's equipment shed when not in the pool!  The next year, a contest was held to choose a new team name and Hurricanes was the winner in honor of that meet.  Justin's younger brother, Jared, then designed the logos you see on the home page of this website.  The name remains unchanged to this day.

The 2004 team accomplished something no Heatherfield team had ever done - a B Division Championship!  Here is a brief chronology of Heatherfield's gradual ascent within the Mid-Penn Swim League: 
                
                1985: team begins in D Division
                1987: wins D Division and moves up to C Division in 1988
                1998: wins C Division and moves up to B Division in 1999
                2004: wins B Division and moves up to A Division in 2005

1998 C Division Champs

 

2005 marked Heatherfield's first ever season in A Division.  The team was able to  survive it's first season in the very competitive division with a 1 - 4 record.

 The team made great strides in A Division in 2006, improving it's record to 3 - 2!  48   Heatherfield swimmers swam at All-Stars and 35 at Mid-Caps, new team records.

 For over a decade prior to 2008, we had plastic starting blocks which were not ideal, but now we have high quality metal blocks.

2008 was Heatherfield’s best year ever to that point, with a 4-1 record in “A” Division, plus 74 All-Star and 52 Mid-Cap swimmers!

2010 was even better - 26 new team records, 74 swimmers at all-stars with 12 1st place winners, 55 at Mid-Caps with 5 1st place finishes
        And for the first time ever, we had the top overall team score at All-stars (out of 16 teams) and Mid-Caps!! (40 teams)

In 2011 the team practiced at Milton Hershey Middle School and the Colonial Country Club due to repairs at our pool/clubhouse after a fire the previous winter.

2015 was our 2nd best season to that point, with our first ever team title at the Willowood Invitational (plus 1st place at Relay and Novice meets), another 2nd place finish in "A" Division, and a 2nd place finish at Mid-Caps.

In 2017, we had our largest team ever, with 170 members.  Our 13-14 boys freestyle relay of Patrick Hemingway, Jack Dowling, Josh Schmidt, and Matthew Mata broke the team, all-star, mid-cap, and Hershey pool records!

In 2019 we finished with the 2nd place team score at both All-Stars and Mid-Caps for the 5th year in a row.