Finally on top: Wenonah Swim Club wins 2021 Tri-County Championship

Waverunners claim first title in over 50 years

MATTHEW SHINKLE/South Jersey Sports Weekly: The Wenonah Waverunners came out of the 64th Annual Burt German Tri-County Championship victorious earlier this month, scoring 817 points to claim their first title since 1966.

Chris Dalsey first came to Wenonah Swim Club about 12 years ago, having previously swam and coached at nearby Green-Fields Swim Club before making the move.

Since then, Dalsey has overseen Wenonah’s steady rise through the multiple divisions within the Tri-County Swimming Pool Association, ultimately leading the club to consistently place highly year after year at the Tri-County Championships as of late.

“For the first five years or so, it was a pretty quick and steady rise,” said Dalsey. “We went from, I believe the D division, all the way up to the A division, and now we’ve been up there with the bigger [teams] in recent years.”

Kids and parents praise Dalsey’s coaching and leadership in taking the Wenonah club once again to the top of the Tri-County rankings. Ironically enough, however, Dalsey was not present at Pheasant Run Swim Club earlier this month when his team was able to clinch its first championship season since 1966.

A previously planned family vacation forced Dalsey to leave the second day of the weekend meet, so while members of his team and fellow coaches celebrated in Cinnaminson following the competition, Dalsey could only hear their excitement through the cell phone of one of his assistant coaches.

“I’m not going to lie: It was pretty bittersweet,” said Dalsey. “Once I had a moment to stop moving, I was able to FaceTime with a few of the kids and parents and coaches. So I wasn’t there physically but I was able to share it with them somewhat.

“To miss it the way that I missed it though, definitely stunk a little bit.”

Regardless, Wenonah came out of the weekend able to hoist the Sue Flynn Championship Trophy, having scored 817 points to win the 64th annual Burt German Tri-County Championship. Deer Brook finished close behind with 794 points, while Pomona scored 651 to round out the top three teams.

Wenonah’s Lindsey Lett scored in the 15 & Over 50-meter freestyle, while also wrapping up a third-place finish in the 15 & Over 100-meter freestyle over the weekend. She played a key role in the club’s clinching of the title during the final day.

Lett originally swam for a different club within the Tri-County Swimming Pools Association, but made the switch to Wenonah a few years ago after being coached elsewhere by Dalsey.

“I actually used to swim for Brookside, but made the switch to Wenonah when I was about 11 years old,” said Lett. “I liked the team energy I saw at Wenonah, but Coach Dalsey was also my club coach at the [Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Club] and we got along really well, so I wanted him to be my summer coach as well.”

Lett said the team chemistry and energy coming into the season, after a year off due to the pandemic, helped the team stay focused and motivated early on and allowed them to get stronger as the year went on.

“There was definitely a lot of uncertainty coming in,” said Lett. “But we all knew that we wanted to have fun this season, and focusing on that and keeping that energy helped us get to where we ended up this past weekend.”

Tanner Jones, who scored in the 15 & Over 200-meter medley and 15 & Over 50-meter fly for the Waverunners, has been with Wenonah for eight years now and has watched the club continue to rise in the standings. She agreed with Lett that a focused and positive attitude guided the team along the way.

“We were just kind of having fun and doing our thing, while knowing we possibly had a chance at it coming in,” said Jones. “The past year of having limited meets and practice was difficult, and we didn’t know what to expect coming in, but after we won the Peach Bowl earlier this year, we kind of felt like we really had a good shot to make a run for the Tri-County Championship this year.”