Haley Borja, left, accepts the trophy as NWAC’s Swimmer of the Year for 2016-17 from coach Dick Taylor at their recent awards banquet. Borja opened the 2017-18 season with eight wins. (submitted photo)

Blue Heron are back / NWAC

Maybe the North Whidbey Aquatic Club’s mascot should be the Phoenix instead of the Blue Heron.

The club lost its support from the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District but rose again as a private organization.

The Blue Heron opened the 2017-18 short course season by competing in the Bellingham October Challenge last weekend, Oct. 7 and 8, and came home with 16 individual event victories.

Haley Borja, 10, paced the NWAC attack with wins in all eight of her events, including setting a new club record in the 50-yard freestyle. Her mark of 28.4 topped the old standard set by Laura Rosen in 2006.

Ashleigh Merrill, 14, and Lindsay Brown, 12, each won two events; and Lecya Santiago, 13, Chris Shashaty, 11, Nick Shashaty, 9, and Kiersten Tyson, 11, each picked up one win.

Next up for the Blue Heron is their own NWAC Halloween Invitational Oct. 21 and 22 at John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool.

The meet will be the last for coach Dick Taylor, who will be leaving Oct. 23 to coach the Manhattan Marlins in Kansas.