NORMAL — There's "Shark," the television drama, "Shark Tank," the reality TV show and "Shark Week, the popular annual cable offering.

In Bloomington-Normal there is "Shark Dynasty."

For the seventh consecutive year, the Normal Parks Swimmin' Sharks claimed the Twin City Swim Conference Meet on Sunday at Horton Pool.

The Sharks won 12 of 22 relays and had four swimmers who won three individual events to outdistance the seven-team field with 2,346 points.

The Four Seasons Stingrays (2,048) finished second with the Marlins (1,740.5) edging the General Electric Employees Club (1,704) for third.

Austin Hartke of the Crestwicke Swim Team won three events to lead his team to fifth with 932. Crestwicke also received the meet's "Spirit Award." The McLean County Swim Club (453) and Bloomington Parks Dolphins (374) rounded out the field.

"I've got a core group of families that are great and through word of mouth they get new people to come in," said Sharks coach Mara Sokan of the team's winning streak. "We've got a lot of great new swimmers that made it to finals this year, so hopefully we can keep it going."

Macy Hunziker (Girls 6 & Under), Lauren Swearingen (Girls 7 & 8), Lara Alsader (Girls 11 & 12) and Ben Rutledge (Boys 13 & 14) each won three individual events for the Sharks.

Hunziker and Rutledge won the freestyle, butterfly and backstroke in their respective classes.

Swearingen added a win in the 100 individual medley to her freestyle and butterfly wins. Alsader won the freestyle, backstroke and individual medley events in her class.

According to Sokan, many of the Sharks hone their skills year-round in helping the team to its success.

"I think a lot of them fall in love with swimming during their first exposure to it during the summer and then they choose one of the multiple winter teams," she said. "When you swim all winter long, you're going to come back the next summer and be pretty good. A lot of them have just found a true love for swimming and they just keep going year after year."

Sokan said that success breeds success.

"They set a great example for what is possible and the first year kids can see, 'this is possible, this is fantastic, I want to tap into this,'" she said. "So, they join a year-round team and just improve all of the time."

Camden Swigert won three individual events in the Boys 11 & 12 division to lead Four Seasons to second place.

The runner-up finish was a birthday gift for head coach Marian Schulz, who returned to the team after a two-year hiatus.

"I left to have a little break and wasn't intending to come back," said Schulz, who has two daughters who are also coaches for the team. "I had a blast this year and I'm hoping to come back next year. This is my birthday and it's a great way to celebrate it."

The Stingrays hung close to the Sharks throughout the afternoon, which was no surprise to Sokan.

"They'd picked up some good swimmers and several of mine had aged out, so I knew it was going to be pretty close," Sokan said.

"We've grown quite a bit. I think we gained about 30 swimmers this year," said Schulz. "But the Sharks have always been a very dominant team. They have a very large team which means they have a lot of swimmers to pull from."

Henry Isaacs won three individual events in the Boys 6 & Under class to help the Marlins to their third-place finish.


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