50 years of the Wave swim team

Peterborough club set to celebrate a half century of existence with 2013 season

  • Members of the Wave swim team take a break from warm-ups before a meet in July of 2011.
  • The Peterborough Swim Team debuted in 1963 with just over 20 swimmers. Over the years, the name has changed a few times, as have the coaches and swimmers, but the passion for swimming has remained. And now the organization will celebrate 50 years of existence with the 2013 season.
  • Current Wave coach Dick Cuddihee was a member of the first Peterborough Swim Team in 1963.

A lot has changed since the Peterborough Swim Team began in 1963.

The name has been altered a few times, while there have been many coaches to patrol the deck of Adams Pool and countless members to swim laps. The team also made the transition from just a summer program to a year round format in the 1990s.

But what has always stayed the same is the passion for swimming. The quest is to teach the area youth how to become a competitive swimmer.

And on Saturday, the Peterborough Wave Swim Club — what it has been named since 1995 when it was switched from the Peterborough Wave Swim Team because of insurance purposes — will begin its 50th year of existence with a three-team home meet at the newly refurbished Adams Pool.

It is only fitting that the half-century milestone will coincide with the first-year of the new pool, which has been the only home for the Wave’s summer team.

On Aug. 9, following the completion of the season with the state championships on Aug. 3-4, the Wave will host a 50-year Celebration at the Barbara C. Harris Conference Center in Greenfield. The event is open to anyone associated with the swim team over the last 50 years and will serve as a reunion of sorts.

“We’re trying to round up as many swimmers as we can from the 60’s on,” said coach Dick Cuddihee. “We’re looking for all swimmers, parents, grandparents and really anybody whose ever been involved. We want people to reconnect.”

There had been an unofficial swim team in the area for a few years prior to 1963, but it was the passion of Terry Lowe, the pool director at the time, that got things off the ground. While Lowe was only around for the first four years of the program, which began with a little over 20 swimmers, he laid the foundation for what the Wave has become.

“There’s a place for everyone on a swim team,” said former coach Beth Corwin. “It’s not only an 11 person team or five on the court, every kid can swim.”

Cuddihee, the Wave’s coach since 1995, was on the first team in 1963 and was the first recipient of the Goyette Award with his younger sister Mary Ann, given to the most outstanding male and female swimmers. Cuddihee swam for the team through the summer of 1966, when PST won its first state championship, before graduating from Peterborough High School and going off to college.

“I grew up in Peterborough and swam there all the time,” said Cuddihee. “In those days, we were the pool group. We lived at the pool.”

He eventually moved back to the area and began helping when his oldest son Bryan was involved. Cuddihee also coached his first daughter Karianne and now Stormie, his youngest, is a full-time Wave participant.

“I’ve seen about 30 of the 50 years,” said Cuddihee. “I just enjoy being on the deck with the kids.”

In his almost 20 years as the full-time coach, Cuddihee has seen ups and downs within the program. This summer, there are 40 swimmers competing for the Wave with another 24 in Off the Blocks, an introductory program started last year.

“We did it to see of we could generate more interest in the program,” said Cuddihee.

And while the winter team was a small group this year, Cuddihee knows that the sport is cyclical. Over the last few years, Cuddihee has begun to see something that gives him confidence for the long term health of the program.

“I have this group of swimmers on the team that I taught their parents how to swim,” said Cuddihee.

When Corwin moved to Peterborough in 1982, she was interested in getting involved. After a swimming career that included four years at the University of Wisconsin and a stint as an assistant coach there, it did not take long for Corwin to become part of the team.

She took over the head coaching duties a year later and spent 14 years as coach, overseeing the transition to a year round team.

“At the time, there was not a heck of a lot of swimming going on,” said Corwin.

At the height of her tenure, Corwin said there were over 120 swimmers in the summer and 90 during the winter season. The team also won a summer state championship and a couple in the winter.

“The team just grew and grew and grew and was very popular,” said Corwin.

While the participation is not quite what it used to be, the team is still thriving. And with a new pool to use, it could give the program a big boost in the years to come.

“We have a good group and now it’s about attracting new people,” said Cuddihee.

The celebration will be from 5-11 p.m. on Aug. 9 with a dinner buffet, as well as music and dancing. The 50th presentation of the Goyette Awards will also take place that night. Reservations are required and can be made by emailing Cuddihee at pwsc99@yahoo.com. The cost is $25 for adults and $16 for children ages 3-9.

“I’ve reserved space for 100 people, but hopefully we get more,” said Cuddihee.

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