The tight-knit Palatine Park District Tiger Sharks swim team is making sure the memory of one of its lost aquatic family members isn't soon forgotten.
Last weekend, the team kicked off the long and arduous swim season by wearing "Stepp Up" T-shirts to honor and remember former teammate Ben Stepp.
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Ben died tragically Aug. 26 at a family reunion in downstate Effingham after he slipped off a rope swing, hit his head and fell into a body of water.
The 13-year-old was set to begin eighth grade the next day at Sundling Junior High in Palatine, where he was an honors student and trumpet player in the school band.
"The idea was kind of just to create team unity and make sure Ben is still in our memories and thoughts," said Tony Gallagher, the Tiger Sharks' head age group coach.
Swimmers could be seen wearing the shirts on the pool deck all weekend at the second annual Fall Frenzy swim meet, hosted by the Tiger Sharks at Elk Grove High School.
Gallagher said Ben had been developing into a strong a swimmer.
"He always worked hard and listened," Gallagher said. "He was really funny. Everyone liked him."