For almost as long as there’s been a Reynolds, there’s been the Reynolds Rapids swim team. And for almost as long as there’s been a Reynolds, there’s been Kate Hoersten.

“My parents moved here in 1988,” the 26-year-old explains. “My dad was a landscape architect and ours was the first home built in Great Waters. I’m told I was the first child born in Reynolds, I think that’s pretty cool.”

So Reynolds is in Hoersten’s blood. As is the water. She swam for the Rapids from the age of four through high school, then pursued swimming at the next level at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. Now Hoersten’s back as one of the Rapids’ coaches. “We teach the kids the proper strokes and techniques,” she says. “We work on drills—how to breathe properly, how to kick, how to make flip turns, and how to finish by sprinting to the wall.”

As someone who grew up in the water, Hoersten wants to pass on her passion for swimming. “If I see some of the kids needing a little extra help or work with their stroke, I just jump in and give them first-hand instruction. And when they get it, it’s very gratifying.”

The Rapids is a Reynolds institution, competing against other local natators in the Oconee Swim League. At any time, up to 60 youngsters ages 4 to 16 are involved, learning to swim, competing, and enjoying the camaraderie that comes with team sports. They train all year long at The Lake Club or Linger Longer Pool. The summer is devoted to meets, the winter to working on conditioning and technique.

“Some of our kids compete for years,” says Angel McGuire, the team’s head coach and a full-time wellness specialist at Reynolds. “Others do it only during the summers. Our program is mostly recreational. We emphasize instructional swimming and participation in a lot of activities. We teach the fundamentals, but mostly we want to give them a good foundation.”

McGuire is just the person to nurture the kids’ love of swimming. A former member of the U.S. women’s swim team, she competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games in Barcelona and Atlanta, capturing three gold and three bronze medals. She’s also a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Season Hudson, who is the team’s president and also oversees concessions and general admission, is further proof of swimming’s life-long attraction. She completed, and later coached, for Brookwood High School in nearby Gwinnett County. She and husband Derek moved from Eatonton to Reynolds seven years ago and now their two daughters, Kennedie and Kayden, are Rapids team members.

“We are at the pool every day,” Hudson says of her family. “It’s our life. We practice three or four times a week, depending on the time of year. This is such a wonderful program, something the kids can do for a lifetime.” The Rapids may just be for kids, but swimming isn’t. Years removed from her competitive days, Hoersten still returns to the pool. “I’ve had bad knees for quite some time, which keeps me from running or vigorously exercising. But with swimming, it’s like I’m in another world. I get a great cardio workout and don’t come away hot and sweaty. Plus it’s relaxing and clears my mind of the problems of the day.”

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