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Local residents seeking support in taking back Tahoe Swim Team

Ashleigh Goodwin / agoodwin@tahoedailytribune.com
Tahoe Swim Team members dive into competition. Local residents are taking control of the team and are looking for community support.
Provided/Tahoe Swim Team

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Tahoe Swim Team has been in the region for more than 40 years and has been left “high and dry” according to one member of the fundraising committee and South Tahoe resident.

Jerry Erickson started the team when the South Lake Tahoe recreation center opened in 1976 as the “Tahoe Swim Club.”

Erickson told the Tribune the city sponsored the team for the first three years and the growth in numbers encouraged the beginning of the first swim team board. 



Erickson said, “Toward the end of my rein we had to pay the city for the use of the pool we would have two swim meets a year which would draw 2,000-plus people and that would help fund the costs of the club.” 

After coaching for 44 years Erickson retired in 2017.



“It was decided it would be better to let Northern Nevada Aquatics, Erik Scalise, take over the swim team with the intention of combining the Reno and Tahoe teams. Scalise managed the program, collected dues, paid bills, hired the coaches,” Erickson said.

Nichole Casto said, “The parents decided to take the team back over because we hadn’t been seeing any money that had been raised.”

Casto said after a discussion with NNA, that they would relinquish all equipment and $6,000 in funds, but Scalise has stopped communicating with those involved in the team.

Scalise told the Tribune that, “They dissolved [Tahoe Swim Club] in 2017 and NNA took over running it as NNA dba Tahoe Swim Club.”

The accusations being thrown at NNA are not accurate, according to Scalise. He said NNA paid for the pool fees from September to the end of 2022 while leaving behind the equipment at the recreation center. Scalise added he has not been contacted by the current organizers since parting ways in September.

Current coaches, Jason Casto and Jeff Edmonds, are both longtime locals who are helping to take the swim team back.  

A GoFundMe was started and says the team is a “year round four days per week program, as well as a nonprofit organization that encourages children 5-18 years while helping kids to focus on advancing their swimming skills, sportsmanship, endurance, teamwork, as well as overall health and wellbeing.”

The online fundraising tool continues to explain the positive impact on the community’s youth, saying, “Many of these swimmers go on to swim on the high school swim teams. Many also swim in college, become lifeguards, and teach swimming within our community.”

After an unfortunate and unexpected setback in finances they are rallying to keep the team afloat. 

Casto said, “We are coordinating a board of directors but that is still in the works. The board will be parents and concerned citizens about the team and its success. The team is organizing a nonprofit as compared to for-profit.”

The team needs to raise $5,000 by January to be able to afford the cost of starting from scratch. They are working towards satisfying basic requirements to maintain the team as well as replace equipment the previous manager apparently kept. 

Items needed in addition to the missing funds include swim fins, kick-boards, goggles, pull buoys, panchos and team branded easy-ups, Casto said. 

The funds raised will be 100% used to secure liability and workman’s compensation insurance, pool time fees, coaching, lifeguard fees, team equipment and to sustain the team for the next year. 

So far just under 10% of the goal has been realized with $490 raised in the first two days. 

To donate, visit the GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/tahoe-swim-team?qid=bbb0221f90a1ad861e6fd20ae1c58803


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