Swim team thanks retiring coach for heart, success

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) For 24 years Anita Dinwittie has arrived at the Village Green pool before 8 a.m. every day of summer.

"Head up, stretch my hands and I never glide, when I get excited the faster I go," she sings to the tune of 'I'm a Little Teapot.

This Monday morning practice is one of her last. After 24 years, Anita's ready to step down from her head coaching job with the Village Green swim team.

"She brings the fun into the team," said team members Maura Spadafora and Lanie Deakins.

"This has been an amazing experience for our children. All three of my boys when they started could hardly swim across the pool, and within the first week of swim team they were swimming laps just like fish," said swim mom Julie Clower.

Under Dinwittie the team has grown from 20 members to 220, winning big awards along the way.

"I originally started it because of the swimming, but as the year's have gone by probably the most enjoyable part is just watching the kids learn to swim and grow up," said Dinwittie.

Some of her former students have moved on to swim at U.T., Carnegie Mellon and others. Some have even come back to teach by her side.

"She's sort of been just as much a mother to me as my own mother. Not to say anything bad about my own mom, but Anita and Robin have raised me in the summers as a kid and I have just as many morals from them as I do anyone else," said assistant coach Isaac Taylor.

Taylor started taking lessons with Dinwittie at age 6. After a year swimming at U.T., he says he's thrilled to be back with the program.

Now the program will rest in someone else's hands, but Dinwittie has faith.

"We've got a lot of great coaches. Spent a lot of years here with the team. We've got a lot of great coaches already, they know the way we usually do things. And I don't think there will be a hitch," said Dinwittie.

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