The Capitol Hill-based team practices six days a week out of the Connolly Center Pool at Seattle University.
“Orca is a tighter social group. We have a monthly potluck at a team member’s house and we go to dinner Friday nights together,” said Brock Jones who has swam on the team for a year.
The Orca Swim team is a predominantly gay and lesbian Masters Team but everyone is welcome. Masters Team means members are 18 and over — you maybe a master but Masters does not refer to skill level. The team has a wide range of abilities from people who have never been a part of an aquatic team to veterans looking for a solid workout.
At the beginning of August, Cleveland, Ohio hosted the Gay Games, an athletic meet where seven of the Orcas competed in swimming. The Gay Games used to be called the Gay Olympic Games when it started in San Francisco in 1982. One of the original founders of the Orcas attended the games that year and was inspired to form a Seattle gay swim team to enhance the gay sports community.
“We did really well, “ said McGavock of the 2014 competition. Many of the Orcas received metals in the event they competed in.
The Orcas began as the “Emerald City Orca Swim Team” in 1984 with around 35 members and have now expanded to roughly 200 members on the roster. The team is open to anyone 18 and over but the swimmers are mostly over 25.
The Orca Swim Team is not the only swim team in the area. CAAT, Central Area Aquatics Team, also hold some of their swim practices out of the Connolly Center. Most of CAAT’s membership is under 18 ranging from elementary age to competitive high school athletes but they also have an 18 and over adult Masters Team.
CAAT recently got a new head coach who is determined to push each CAAT swimmer to the best of their abilities. Their Masters Team is not predominantly gay and is also an option on the Hill to get involved in the swimming community.
If you want to get involved, all you need to do is visit the Orca team site and fill out a visiting swimmer form. A visiting swimmer can swim up to three times for free. After the trial period, you can sign up for being part of the team. Swimmers can choose between paying for a quarterly or annual membership.
“Some members of the team do not swim regularly, they just are a part of the community,” said Jones.
Find the practice calendar and more information at the Orca Swim Team website.