Siblings Tim and Amy Caulkins watched the final day of the 2012 Nashville Swim League city meet Sunday at Centennial Sportsplex.
They saw some of this weekend’s 1,636 swimmers, age 18 and under, compete in the Tracy Caulkins Pool, named for their three-time Olympic gold-medal winning sister.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Nashville Swim League, and for four of those decades, the Caulkins, Nashville’s most famous swimming family, have been a part of it.
The Nashville Swim League has 21 teams from Davidson, Williamson, Sumner and Wilson counties. When the league first started in 1962, there were five teams.
“We moved to Nashville in 1969, I think, and a year later we started swimming,” Tim Caulkins said. “We joined Seven Hills (Barracudas), and we’ve been there ever since.”
Tim was nearly 11 when he started swimming, and Amy was 8. As the youngest, Tracy wasn’t exactly given a choice about swimming and started before she was 6.
“We just kind of drug her in there,” Tim Caulkins said. “They needed some bodies to fill the pool. But it was all glory (for Tracy) from there on.”
In the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Tracy Caulkins won three gold medals — 200-meter individual medley, 400 IM and the 4×100 medley relay.
She lives in Queensland, Australia, with her husband Mark Stockwell, an Australian Olympic gold medalist. The couple has four children.
Amy Caulkins continued her swimming career in college, but Tim stopped swimming after he turned 16.
After a stint of coaching in Australia, Amy Caulkins returned to coach Seven Hills for 15 years and retired from coaching last year.
The Nashville Swim League established a yearly award in her honor to recognize coaches who “impact the lives of young swimmers as well as make a difference in the community.”
Now the Caulkins family tradition carries on with Tim’s daughter, Haley, who is 16.
“I didn’t know if Haley was going to want to swim,” Tim Caulkins said. “The summer program gave her the chance to try it out.”
Haley Caulkins competes in the breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke and individual medley, specializing in the last two.
The IM is the same event her father specialized in and her aunt Tracy won gold in.
“We’ve got to continue that family tradition,” Tim Caulkins said.