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Manta Ray Swim Team History

The Manta Ray Swim Team was started in 1982 by Paula Briggs as a way for giving kids a structured and healthy lifestyle during the early summer months.  The team held practices under Paula and her assistant, George Collins, for four years at the local Wisp Ski Resort pool.  The team started with 14 swimmers.  The team has had a series of head coaches over the years:

Head Coach                Tenure                       Pool

Paula Briggs              1982 to 1986               Wisp Ski Resort, McHenry, MD

Vicky Skipper             1986 to 1988               Alpine Lake Resort, Terra Alta, WV

Joanne Graybill          1988 to 1997               Alpine Lake Resort, Terra Alta, WV

Nan Gangler              1997 to 2006               Alpine Lake Resort, Terra Alta, WV

Coaching Team          2007                           Alpine Lake Resort, Terra Alta, WV

Coaching Team          2008                           Kingwood City Pool, Kingwood, WV

Connie Gibson           2009                           Kingwood City Pool, Kingwood, WV

Krista Hollingsworth   2010                           Wisp Ski Resort, McHenry, MD
Dusty Huxford           2011, Summer             Wisp Ski Resort, McHenry, MD
Dusty Huxford           2011 to 2014 Summer  Garrett County CARC, McHenry, MD
Nancy Beakes            2014 Winter                Garrett County CARC, McHenry, MD
Dusty Huxford           2015 Summer              Garrett County CARC, McHenry, MD
George Collins           2016 Summer              Garrett County CARC, McHenry, MD
George Collins           2017 Summer              Garrett County CARC, McHenry, MD

Today, depending upon the season, the Manta Rays have as many as 30 swimmers on the team, making it one of the largest in the area.  During our summer seasons, the Manta Rays compete in the YMCA Summer League at the Riverside YMCA in Cumberland Maryland.

The Manta Rays are an age group swim team accepting swimmers from ages 4 to 18.  We have an informal Masters division that uses workouts posted on our website and practices ad hoc (we hope to formalize this program soon).


Board Information

The Manta Ray Swim Team Board is responsible for the short and long term well being of the Manta Rays.  This includes oversight of all matters pertaining to finances, coaching, swimmer safety, and general well being of the team.  The board is composed of at least 5 voting members, one of which is a member-at-large.  In addition, at the discretion of the board, at least one coach shall be a non-voting member of the Board.  The current board members are: 

President                     Dusty Huxford

Vice-President              Missy Rowan



Member-at-Large          Gale Bosley


Coach Information

The Manta Rays leverage a strong parent volunteer base in conjunction with a good set of coaches.  This allows non-water related duties to be completed by the parents volunteers while the coaches concentrate on their specific strengths for the benefit of the team as a whole.  Members of the current Coaching Team are:

Head Coach

George Collins


Assistant Coaches
Missy Rowan


Coaching Philosophy

The Manta Ray Swim Team's purpose is to promote physical fitness, develop leadership qualities and sportsmanship, encourage team involvement, foster self discipline, build self confidence and provide a competitive swimming experience in a supportive and fun environment where a swimmer's full potential may be reached.

While it is obvious that the Manta Rays are involved in helping swimmers to swim fast, that is not the only purpose behind the coaching team’s goals for the Manta Ray athletes.  As a coaching team we are far more interested in using the sport of swimming for teaching life skills.  Some of these life skills are:
  • Foster Positive Attributes: self-esteem, self-reliance, confidence, respect, and team pride.
  • Goal Setting: Helping swimmers determine how to set and accomplish goals.
  • Prioritizing: Helping swimmers to place the important things in their lives first, even if swimming may not be the most important.
  • Self Motivation: Most things in life come from within, not from the outside.
  • Work Ethic: The great American work ethic.  Hard work always pays off.  Success comes through hard work and dedication.
  • Limits and Boundaries: Each swimmer should strive to be the best that they can be and not worry how others are doing.  We encourage swimmers to be in control of the things that they can do something about and to not worry about the things that they cannot control.  A swimmer can be in control of their work ethic.  They cannot control the natural ability that they were given.
  • Team Work: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  The Manta Rays want to be a strong chain.  Innovative team building exercises create a fun and challenging environment for all swimmers.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Swimming is for life.  Not only do we encourage this, we practice it.  Our coaches still swim.
  • Responsibility:  Decisions are made every day that will affect swimming and life.  There are consequences in very decision, good and bad.
Our emphasis is on self improvement.  Very few swimmers become Olympic athletes.  The majority strive to do the very best they can. The attention of the coaches will always be on the swimmers working the hardest to achieve their goals.  This has not and will not always be the fastest swimmers, but tends to be the most dedicated swimmers.  The program must be run with the expectation of near perfect attendance.  To do anything less would be a disservice to the traditions of the Manta Rays and to the most dedicated athletes we have.
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