The pure delight of sport--of pushing the body's capabilities, of moving with grace and style--takes a back seat to winning in this curious mixture of minor-league motives and big hearts from Atkins. It is Jessenia's first year on the swim team and her first meet on the opponent's turf. Her mother, an old soul from Puerto Rico who extols the simple pleasures of her childhood, and Jessenia's pranksterish brother (here for light relief) accompany her on the bus. But Jessenia's mind is on thrashing rival Weston School, an upscale community far from her urban home. Jessenia loses her first contest, then comes back to win the last race, although her school is trounced. Regardless, Jessenia is radiant and points a finger at the opposition: ""We'll be back!"" Atkins makes her points gently, but the story never gives testimony to Jessenia's joy in swimming, to her being part of the team--elements that readers are expecting from the opening pages. The atmospheric hints and half-stated ideas may not be enough to compel children through the pages.