Before the old Swampscott/Marblehead wrestling development program went away five years ago some 40 youngsters were learning the basics and gaining an appreciation for the sport.
Now, the development program is back, with 19 kids between grades 1 and 9 taking part in the Swampscott Recreation Department's Summer Wrestling Program, six weeks of wrestling instruction.On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7:30 p.m. on the Swampscott High field house mat they learn the rules and other basics from Rob Hopkins and Rick Wyman, a former Arizona state champion wrestler and an All-American.
On Tuesday they were practicing from down and up positions with Marblehead/Swampscott varsity wrestlers Ali Atalah, Cam Budrow, Stephen Hopkins and Rick and Rob giving the paired wrestlers instructions on positioning and moves.
Priorities are safety — pairing wrestlers of similar size, experience and age — teaching the basics and developing a yen for the sport.
Basics include take downs, ways to set up pins and pinning opponents, as well as escaping from an opponent, said Rob.
As far as the yen, goes, the instructors want the kids to find a sport they want to continue with, feeding the high school wrestling program, the Black and Blues, a combined Marblehead and Swampscott team coached by Mike Stamison.
Rob hopes that in the coming years the high school will field entire varsity and junior varsity wrestling teams.
It starts with the basics, though, and Tuesday the kids looked like they were having fun learning a new sport.