Blast Sharks, formerly known as the Hancock Park Swimming Club, took second place at a recent Junior Olympics Swim competition at Riverside Community College. This year, the team came very close to winning the meet, a huge accomplishment for a local team, given that Southern California is one of the most competitive places in the nation for swimming. Thanks to reader and Windsor Square resident Tracy Presepe for sharing the success of our local swim juggernaut.
The Blast Sharks, coached by Peter Lambert, who also serves as head swim coach at Marlborough School, now number some 200 young athletes ages 6-18, who swim at several local pools including Marlborough, the Los Angeles Tennis Club, and several pools in Culver City, West Hollywood and Burbank.
“Southern California is the hotbed of swimming in the world,” explained Lambert. “Many of the athletes who go on to swim in the Olympics got their start in Southern California. We get great competition when we compete in Southern California Junior Olympic events like annual summer meet in Riverside.”
Last year the team won third place, this year they came very close to first place, finishing a close second, Lambert told us when we caught up with him at a Futures Swim meet in Portland, Oregon, where he was coaching a young Marlborough School swimmer who qualified for that meet.
“We are thrilled to have this massive, wonderful team filled with highly competitive kids, mostly from the neighborhood, but some are traveling in from Santa Monica and other places to compete with us,” said Lambert.
Lambert recalled that more than ten years ago he started the Hancock Park Swim Club (the name changed to the kid-selected Blast Sharks about five years ago) on a cold March evening with just four kids in the pool. He was just hoping to start a swim program for his own kids and others in the neighborhood who wanted to develop their strokes and get more serious about swimming.
“I never imagined that we could win second place at a Southern California Junior Olympics event,” said Lambert.
He credits his team of ten fellow coaches who have helped him grow the team over the past ten years.
Tracy Presepe told the Buzz she found the team when her son Max began swimming two years ago with Lambert at the LA Tennis Club.
“He was in the water all the time and told me he wanted to take lessons to learn the strokes,” said Presepe. “He loves it. This is his passion. The Blast Sharks has been really great – we have great coaches, and as long as he wants to swim, I am supporting him.”
Max won 8 gold first place medals, a third and a fifth place medal at the Riverside event,