Swim Team History
In the spring of 1961, Dot Norris and life guard Skip Norris decided to train some of the advanced swimmers to swim competitively. Skip became the coach and Dot arranged for the first and only dual meet of the season against Lake Paulinskill. Delores Bersen and her husband John helped devise an area where the swimmers would train by building an improvised "turn board" made of nothing more than a long log anchored 25 yards from the first beach dock (where the diving board used to be) and this is where our swimmers trained by swimming to the log and back. The following year Dot Norris became the Chairman of the Swimming Committee and during the next phase of the development of the swim team, Dot Norris, her husband Chet Norris and Carl Peterson constructed a free-standing, anchored, "A" frame supported dock with turn boards to replace the log mentioned above. The anchors were truck tires filled with stones.
This system had reasonable success and we competed. The newly formed Lake Shawnee Swim Team was accepted into the Bi-County Swim League and swam against Budd Lake, Lake Parsippany, Cranberry Lake, Byram Sperry Springs, Culvers Lake, Lake Wallkill and Shongum Lake at different times over the course of the next 20 years. Improvement was needed and the Board allocated money for swim lanes (4 of them) behind the Clubhouse. These lanes were made by scooping out the Lake bottom by hand and using drag-line to deepen the area. Pipes were driven into the bottom to support two docks 25 yards apart. Competition continued to get strong and there were some very exciting meets. Ice took its toll on the pipe supports every winter. Spectator space was limited at the Clubhouse so again the swimming committee went to the drawing board and drew plans for a second dock at first beach with a system of removable turn boards. This location gave the swim team deeper and wider lanes and expanded spectator space. We are known to have one of the best facilities in the league.
During the early years, communication with competitors and the crowd went from just plain hollering to the use of a bull-horn and then to a portable amplifying equipment with long extension cords. There is now power at the main dock for our P.A. system. It was also during these early years that the tradition of honking around the lake when we won a meet started. At that time many of the Lake residents were only there during the summer and many did not have phones. So driving around the lake and honking was how the swim team let everyone know they won. This tradition still continues today.
In 1981, the Lake Shawnee Swim Team joined the North Jersey Regional Lake League (NJRLL). The league now consists of twelve lake teams competing against each other and is split into the Small and Large Lakes Divisions. Lake Shawnee has taken first place in the Small Lakes Division in the past with the most recent year being 2012. We currently use a meter course to track league records and times. In August of 2012 we hosted trials and finals in Lake Shawnee and again with the help of our community we saw over 1,000 people come through our neighborhood during this very successful two day event.
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to swim, but think you can’t
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost...
For out in the world we find...
Success begins with a fellow’s will...
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed,
you are You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before...
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go...
To the stronger or faster man
But sooner or later, the man who wins...
Is the one who thinks he can.