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By Ed Moreth 

Piranhas get help from sidekicks


August 2, 2018

Ed Moreth

BACK IN THE WATER – Batt Lulack slices through the water in the Plains Piranhas 2018 Sidekick Swim & Ice Cream Social fundraiser. Lulack was the swimmer sidekick for his son, Pepper, a member of the Piranha team.

Batt Lulack competed on the Plains Piranhas Swim Team as a youngster and last week he was again swimming for the Piranhas, this time as a fundraiser for the team.

The 46-year-old Lulack was one of 22 participants in the Sidekick Swim & Ice Cream Social fundraiser last Tuesday. The goal of the fundraiser was for a swim member to team up with another person – the sidekick – and collect pledges for laps. Most of the people pledged a flat fee. The fundraiser money goes to pay for the salary of the team's head coach, this year, Jack Couch, and his gas to the eight meets, the Montana swim federation fees, meet fees, and team equipment, said Gennifer Deschamps, the team board president. The sidekick fundraiser raised more than $600 two years ago and helped pay for lane ropes. The pledges this year came from individuals and businesses of Plains, said Deschamps, a Piranha swimmer in the 1980s.

The swim team has been doing the sidekick fundraiser at least to the mid 1970s, when Rick Horton competed. This year, his daughter, Grace, is on the team and participated in the fundraiser.

The Lulack team, which included his 11-year-old son Pepper, raised $191. Batt swam 38 laps while Pepper completed 40 laps. Batt's daughter, Cree, and her sidekick, Mariah Smith, swam 110 laps and raised $294.

The total amount raised won't be known until after the team members hand in their pledge sheets. The fundraiser also included a pie sale. Parents and swim team members baked 18 pies, including a "candy bar" pie by Heather Worrall, whose swim team member son, Gabe, recruited his sisters, Dakota, 18, and Courtney Deery, 28, as his sidekicks and together they did 124 laps.

The swimmers could swim any stroke and switch strokes as often as they wish. They could take as many breaks they want during the hour-long time to complete their laps. They weren't allowed to walk in the pool, although judges were lenient on that rule. Most of the swim team members in the fundraiser practiced with the strokes they'd be using during competition.

Sidekicks ranged from 9-year-old Remington Ryan, who did 40 laps, to the 46-year-old Lulack, who said he felt good after his laps, except for leg cramps. "But it was great to do this for the team," said Lulack. Jake MacDonald, 39, did 24 laps as a sidekick for his daughter, Lillian, 13 who finished 60 laps.

Remington Ryan and Karoline Knutson were sidekicks for Piranha sisters Ireland and Hallie Corbin. The foursome did 203 laps and raised $458. Tiffeny Ryan, who counted laps during the fundraiser, is mother to Remington. Her two other boys, Spur and Brock, who had been on the team in past year, were also sidekicks. Brock chalked up 60 laps; Spur did 70.

Piranha Kaylee Cole did 80 laps while her sidekick brother, Alec, did 44 laps. Together, they collected $265 in pledges, although they were waiting for one additional pledge, who was paying by the lap. Last out of the pool were Piranhas Alexis Helterline and Genevieve Deschamps, who had a dozen sponsors and chalked up 124 laps.


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