One of the area’s oldest — and, at the same time, still growing — sports leagues is celebrating the close of another season this weekend, as the Clear Creek Swim League holds its 54th Annual Champ Series Weekend meet at the Matthew T. Doyle Natatorium in Texas City.
More than 500 swimmers ages 5 to 18 from the league’s 20 teams competed for the tournament’s trophy over the weekend. The Champ Series Weekend is essentially an all-star game for swimmers from each team who had the best season, league president Brian Sharpless said.
A nonprofit run by volunteers, it’s the Clear Creek Swim League’s mission to both sponsor competitive and developmental swimming events in League City and the surrounding areas and to develop a love for the sport with its young swimmers and teach them aquatic skills, teamwork and good sportsmanship.
“That’s what I harp on, and that’s our goal,” Sharpless said.
One of the league’s volunteer officials, Fred Bogar, is himself an alumni of the Clear Creek Swim League, swimming in the league from age 8 to 18 and has continued to help out the league as his daughter competed as a member of the same League City Barracudas team for whom he once swam.
“I just love the sport of swimming and wanted to do whatever I could to support the sport of swimming,” Bogar said. “As a kid growing up, I took a lot of pride in knowing I was a good swimmer and wanted the same thing for my daughter. And summer league is where it all starts.”
The original league began with 10 or 11 teams based out of different cities or neighborhoods primarily from the League City/Clear Lake area, Sharpless said.
Now, the league has doubled in size with teams as far west as Pearland, south as Angleton and east as Baytown with plans for two new teams from Galveston and Shadow Creek to be added next season.
“Swimming is something you’ll have for your whole life,” Bogar said. “Once you learn how to swim, it’s a skill that you’ll have, and it’s an exercise.”
After practices start in May, the Clear Creek Swim League’s season lasts five weeks, starting in the first week in June and culminating into this weekend’s big event. Roughly 2,700 total swimmers participated in the league this past season, Sharpless said.
Teams are broken up into four different division based on size of the team and compete with other teams in their division over the course of the five-week season. The sizes of teams range from about 50 members to more than 300 members, with 150 being the rough average, Sharpless said.